A mob attacked a village about 15km from the Jharkhand capital and torched 40 houses and dozens of vehicles on Monday night, apparently to avenge the murder of a land broker from a neighbouring area.
The retaliatory assault happened after an unidentified assailant slashed the neck of Naseem Ansari of Navri village with a sword, at fellow land dealer Md Zakir’s home in Piprachauda village on Monday. Ansari’s friend Rajaf Ansari was also attacked but he managed to escape and report the murder to residents of Navri.
Soon after, about 400 people from Navri reached Piprachauda carrying traditional weapons and indiscriminately attacked houses that came on their way, eyewitnesses said.
The mob attacked a police officer too, who had gone there to inquire about the murder. He suffered head wounds and was admitted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi. The attackers chased away policemen who had rushed to the village to contain the situation, which was brought under control after reinforcements were sent.
A contingent of police, including Jharkhand armed police personnel and rapid action force, was stationed in the area. “Rajaf’s statement has been taken … an FIR will be lodged for the murder. Police will also register an FIR for the mob attack,” SP Kishore Kaushal said.
Burnt houses and vehicles bore the sign of the shocking attack on Piprachauda, which has around 150 homes, on Tuesday. People tried to salvage usable belongings from the charred remains, seldom speaking as they went about their chores.
Those who mustered enough courage to speak did so in a muted voice. “I was playing with my children when stones started falling on my rooftop... Soon the mob entered my house and set it ablaze … my bike, fridge, washing machine are all gone,” said Mohammad Sajjad.