‘Cattle trade, land disputes and rumors behind Jharkhand lynching’

A fortnight after seven men were lynched on a single day in Jharkhand, a government probe panel has listed the possible reasons which may been catalysts for the murders.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2017 17:51 IST
Manoj Choudhary
Manoj Choudhary
Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
File photo of security forces confronting an angry mob following the lynching of seven men after they were accused of being child lifters in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district on May 20. (HT PHOTO)

Rumours, opposition to cattle trade, land dispute and conspiracy were some of the reasons that could have led to lynching of seven people who were falsely accused of child lifting in two separate incidents in Jharkhand’s Kolhan region in a single day last month, a probe panel has said.

A total of nine people were killed across Jharkhand in May in mob violence fuelled by rumours of gangs of child lifters targeting tribal children.

The issue rocked the state when seven people were lynched on May 19 in two separate incidents. In the morning, a mob lynched four Muslim youths branding them as child lifters at Sobhapur village in Saraikela-Kharsawan district and in the evening, three others were killed at Nagadih village in East Singhbhum district on same charges.

Following the incidents, the government had constituted a two-member probe panel comprising Kolhan commissioner Pradeep Kumar and deputy inspector general (DIG) Prabhat Kumar.

In a brief interaction with media in Jamshedpur on Monday ahead of submitting the report to the government, the two members of the probe panel also said that some antisocial elements had hatched a conspiracy which vitiated the peaceful atmosphere in Sobhapur village where four Muslim cattle traders were lynched. Some people, who have been identified, fanned the trouble in the background.

But neither of the two officers faulted the police for failing to control the violent mobs although the families of the Muslim men say policemen present at the scene of the crime did not stop the lynching.

Read more: Hands folded, blood-soaked body: Pictures of man begging for life capture brutality of Jharkhand lynching

“Police had taken adequate steps to quell the mob and bring the situation under control. Additional forces, however, reached late in the village as it is far away from the district headquarters,” the panel members said.

As for the killings in Nagadih in East Singhbhum district, the panel revealed that the incident was closely linked to sale and purchase of tribal land to non-tribal people.

“Land brokers are active in the region and their involvement in the killings can’t be ruled out. The matter requires thorough investigation by the police,” commissioner Pradeep Kumar said.

They pointed out that false alarms on WhatsApp groups too had created rumors about prevalence of gangs of child lifters in villages and these added fuel the frenzy for the killings.

“We can’t blame WhatsApp group members, nearly 400 in numbers, for spreading rumors knowingly or unknowingly,” Prabhat Kumar said. He added that the police have identified three people in this connection and two had been arrested.

The police have arrested 20 people so far for their alleged involvement in the lynching incidents.

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 18:05 IST