Who Killed Student Activist Anish Khan?

A student activist named Anish Khan (23) was brutally murdered at his home in West Bengal’s Howrah district in the early hours of Saturday, February 19th 2022. Anish Khan’s murder has sparked a large-scale students’ protest at the Aliah University of Kolkata, where he was enrolled in an integrated five-year-long Master of Business Administration (MBA) Course.

Anish Khan was allegedly thrown off the rooftop of his house by four men wearing a police uniform in the wee hours of Saturday. 

A group of Kolkata’s cultural figures visited Anish’s house and demanded the arrests of the perpetrators. Police, however, denied that any one of them had visited the house of Anish Khan.

Anish Khan was associated with the newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF), which was part of the alliance that fought against the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the recent Assembly elections. Before that, he was a supporter of the CPI(M)’s students’ wing SFI. Anish had participated in a movement by students of Aliah University against the alleged poor functioning of the varsity.  

Anish Khan’s murder has enraged the students and faculty of Aliah University as well as the activists with whom he had participated in various movements on social and political causes. Khan took part in the agitation against the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) exercise and was a vocal critic of the burgeoning private healthcare facilities in the Amta region of Howrah district. Khan also played a pivotal role in the 137-day-long protest by Aliah University students against the state government’s policies.

The Murder of Anish Khan

According to his parents, Khan returned home late on Friday night from an Islamic Jalsa (quintessential religious gatherings in rural West Bengal where evangelists sermonise devotees) nearby. Around 1am, his father, Salem Khan, heard a knock on the door of their two-storey house in which a second floor is currently under construction.

When Salem went to the gate, he found four men (six to seven according to the updated police complaint) who were looking for Anish Khan. Except for one man, who was wearing a regular khaki police uniform, the rest were dressed in the civic police volunteer uniform. They told Salem that they are policemen and need to speak to his son. When Salem refused to open the gate, the man wearing khaki pointed a gun at his temple and forced him to unlock the gate.

After Salem let them in, they rushed inside the house and started hitting all family members, including women, while abusing them. They vandalised the house while looking for Anish Khan, who was sleeping upstairs. When these men found Khan, they started beating him. Then men wearing civic police volunteer uniforms dragged Khan to the under-construction second floor.

As per the Amta Police Station, no policemen were sent to Khan’s house for any investigation or arrest. The police are suspecting foul play in Anish Khan’s murder.

According to Khan’s father, before opening the gate he had told the men that Anish wasn’t home. However, the men told him that they had seen him enter the house, which points towards the possibility of Khan being stalked. If these men weren’t policemen, then who were they? How did they act with such impunity wearing uniforms and why did they kill Khan?

The family members alleged they heard Khan struggling with these men and the hustling came to an end when they heard a terrific thud. The men in civic police volunteer uniform returned to the man in khaki and told him: “Sir, the work is done”. They left the house without further delay. The family members, who were held ransom at gunpoint till then, rushed out to find Khan’s dead body in a pool of blood with injury marks on his body. When the family members took Khan to the Sebabrata Nursing Home in Uluberia, he was declared dead.

As per the Amta Police Station, no policemen were sent to Khan’s house for any investigation or arrest. The police are suspecting foul play in Anish Khan’s murder.

According to Khan’s father, before opening the gate he had told the men that Anish wasn’t home. However, the men told him that they had seen him enter the house, which points towards the possibility of Khan being stalked. If these men weren’t policemen, then who were they? How did they act with such impunity wearing uniforms and why did they kill Khan?

Read More about the case on People’s Review

Source People’s Review, The New Indian Express

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