Jharkhand becomes ‘lynching capital’, records one more death by mob violence

Written by Priyanka Kavish | Published on: November 7, 2019

This is the 22nd death by mob violence in Jharkhand in the past three-and-a-half years

A 48-year-old man was beaten to death by a mob and another was seriously injured in Jharkhand’s Bokaro, after he allegedly stole a battery from a vehicle, police said.

It was reported by The Indian Express that according to a statement by Superintendent of Police P Murugan, five persons have been arrested in connection with the murder that took place in Govindpur village, Bokaro.

The police say that the attack on the two men, Mubarak Ansari (48) and Akhtar Ansari (26) did not seem to be motivated by religion.

SP Bokaro P Murugan, said, “They were caught by a few people when they were returning with the stolen battery and beaten up. After police was informed, the two were rushed to a hospital where Mubarak Ansari was declared brought dead. As of now, it does not look like they were targeted because of their religion.”

A video of the incident circulated showed a group of men mercilessly hitting Mubarak with slippers and asking him to confess to earlier thefts he had allegedly committed.

But Mubarak could not speak. His jaw appeared to be broken. 

A case has been registered at Bokaro Thermal Police Station against five people under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 307(attempt to murder), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy). The FIR names Premchand Mahato, Hemlal Mahato, Nandan Mahato, Kundan Mahato and Premchand’s wife, and seven unidentified people. Police said the named accused have been arrested and they are conducting raids to nab the others.

The police who said that Mubarak had been jailed for a theft in the past, registered the FIR on a statement given by Akhtar. His statement read, “Mubarak Ansari and I reached Govindpur at midnight where we stole a battery from a vehicle. We left for our homes and Mubarak carried the battery on his shoulder. A few people, Premchand Mahato and others, caught us, tied us up and started beating us with rods. More people were called in and they too started beating us with rods, bamboo and tangi (axe). Around 4.30 in the morning, a person from our village found us and called other people. We were then taken to the hospital where I was treated and doctors declared Ansari brought dead.”

This is Akhtar’s original statement as accessed by Sabrang India.

Jharkhand – The Lynching Capital?

Jharkhand, which is the seat of the Bharatiya Janata Party has just witnessed its 22nd mob-violence related death in Mubarak’s murder.

Opposition leaders have called Jharkhand a lynching factory, but no strict action has been taken by the ruling party to contain the ire mob in Jharkhand from taking the law into their own hands.

In June 2017, a meat trader was lynched over the suspicion that he was carrying beef.

A Muslim youth, Tabrez Ansari, accused of stealing a motorcycle, was beaten up by a mob in SeraikelaKharswan district in June this year. The video of the incident showed that mob forcing him to chant Jai Shri Ram and Jai Hanuman. He died of his injuries.

In 2016, cow-vigilantes killed two Muslim cattle traders, lynching them to death and later hanging them from a tree.

In July this year, a mob of a dozen masked men raided the Nagar Shikari village in Jharkhand’s Gumla district and lynched to death four people on the suspicion of practicing black magic.

The history of lynching incidents in Jharkhand is evident in the large number of cases wherein women were murdered on charges of practicing witchcraft. Jharkhand has been on top when it comes to the number of people killed for practising witchcraft for four consecutive years between 2013 and 2016, in India, according to data available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). In 2016, 27 such cases were reported in the state and between 2001 and 2016 a total of 523 such cases have been reported. All these women were beaten to death by irate mobs.

Why is the BJP silent?

Raghubar Das, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand has not taken any strong action against the increasing number of lynching incidents in Jharkhand.

Is verbal condemnation enough?

Last year, BJP parliamentarian Jayant Sinha shamelessly garlanded those convicted for lynching Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh, after they were granted bail by the high court.

As per records with the State police, from 2016 to 2019, Jharkhand witnessed at least 14 cases of mob lynching. And many of them were sparked by communal disharmony. Out of these 14 incidents, seven were reported in 2017 and five in 2018. 

When people called Jharkhand the ‘hub of lynching’, all that the Prime Minister said was that the public must refrain from insulting the state.

Mohan Bhagwat, the Rashtriya Swayam sevak Sangh (RSS) chief had earlier said that ‘lynching’ was a western construct and shouldn’t be used to defame the country.

So is this only the love for the state and not for its people? Where is the action against the perpetrators?

According to the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), at least 11 of the victims were Muslim, with most of them having been killed by cow vigilante groups. Five of the victims were Hindu, lynched over child lifting rumours, and two were tribal Christians, killed for carrying and consuming beef. The identities of the three others are not known, reported The Print. This data excludes those killed over suspicion of witchcraft.

The complicity of the police and the admininistration, has let Jharkhand become victim to the ‘lynch mob syndrome’.

Mubarak and Tabrez have just been reduced to a number in the long list of murders by mobs running amok, drunk on power and the silent support of the fascist government.

Even the National Records Crime Bureau has excluded data on ‘mob lynchings’ from its annual crime data report last published in 2017.

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