Man lynched in north Bengal on suspicion of being child lifter; second in 6 days
A mob in North Bengal’s Alipurduar district lynched a man on Sunday night on suspicions of being a child lifter, taking the toll in this area to two in the past six days.
Locals in Tashati Tea Garden started beating the man after they found him loitering in the area, about 685 km North of Kolkata.
Eight policemen from nearby Jateswar police outpost who reached the spot had to flee as the crowd started attacking them too. Later reinforcement reached the spot from Falakata police station and resorted to baton charge and firing tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
The unidentified man was already dead when police found him. Doctors at Birpara general hospital declared the man “brought dead”.
“Seventeen people were arrested and cases are being initiated against them. The victim, who is yet to be identified, appeared to be in his mid thirties,” said Nagendranath Tripati, superintendent of police, Alipurduar.
The additional judicial magistrate’s court of Alipurduar sent three of the accused Bandan Oraon (72), Salim Munda (28) and Budhu Munda (22) to five days in police custody while 14 others were sent to jail custody for five days. They have been charged with murder and rioting with deadly weapons.
The lynching took place six days after a man was killed in adjoining Jalpaiguri district on the same suspicion.
On July 22, the middle-aged man, who was dressed like a woman, was caught by villagers and beaten up mercilessly. Later he was taken to a nearby railway track where he was hit with stones.
Just a day after that incident, a deaf and mute woman was beaten up after she was suspected for being a child lifter at Jiti tea garden near Indo-Bhutan border in Jalpaiguri district.
Police could not establish the identity of the victims of mob attack on July 22 and 23.
To contain the menace of mobs beating up persons simply on suspicion of being child lifters, the administration and police have joined hands with tea garden management and leaders of trade unions.
“It is very unfortunate that lynching is continuing despite our sincere efforts to make people understand that they should not believe rumours,” said Ram Awatar Sharma, secretary of Dooars branch of Tea Association of India.
After the deaf and mute woman was thrashed on July 23, Smriti Subba, block development officer, Nagrakata said that they would organise and facilitate meetings and awareness campaigns by NGOs, panchayat authorities, educational institutions and tea garden management.
In the tea garden belt of north Bengal the administration is regularly making public announcements stating that no incident of child lifting has taken place in the region and the people should not believe rumours and take law into their own hands.