Mob Lynching Shadows Hemant Soren’s Confidence Win in Ranchi

Amidst Chief Minister Hemant Soren's victory and cabinet oath, Jharkhand reels from the tragic mob lynching of Akhtar Ansari, highlighting ongoing challenges despite the state's anti-lynching legislation and calls for immediate action from national leaders

Ranchi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren won a vote of confidence today. Later, his cabinet ministers took the oath of secrecy in the presence of the Governor of Jharkhand. However, when Soren was about to prove his majority inside the assembly in Ranchi, another incident of mob lynching was reported in the state capital.

Thirty-year-old Akhtar Ansari, a father of four children, was accused of goat theft and beaten to death in Tatisilve, Ranchi. Akhtar’s nephew Irshad, who received a call on Sunday night, said, “When I got the call, I could only hear ‘Maaro, Maaro (beat him)’. There was so much noise. He was not a thief.”

When family members reached the spot, they found Akhtar’s unconscious body with several severe injury marks on his legs and head. “But when we went to the police station, we were told that he was a thief, which is not true,” added Irshad.

Jharkhand is one of the few states in India that has passed an anti-mob lynching law. However, the bill has been returned by the government with some objections.

Significantly, in the last two years, Jharkhand police have not accepted that any mob lynching took place and have either claimed that the person killed was by only two people or that it was an accident. This occurred in the case of Irshad Ansari on August 22, 2023, in Ramgarh and the recent case of an Imam in Hazaribagh.

While this is the second alleged mob lynching case in Jharkhand, at least ten Muslims have reportedly been killed across the country since June 4, when the counting for the new government at the center took place. This includes three Muslims allegedly lynched in Bengal.

A concerned citizen of Ranchi, Tanweer Ahmad, has written an open letter to Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, and several other INDIA bloc leaders and chief ministers, including Hemant Soren, urging them to take immediate strict action on the issue. Not only should they raise the issue inside and outside the parliament but also work to stop mob lynching in their respective states.

It will be important to see how Hemant Soren deals with this most inhuman crime as there is resentment among the Muslim community on the issue. Champai Soren, the former chief minister in the new cabinet, also took oath as a minister in the Hemant Soren government. He was a minister in the earlier government. Along with him, three new faces—Baidyanath Ram, Irfan Ansari, and Dipika Pandey—have joined the government. The old faces, Banna Gupta, Mithilesh Thakur, Bebi Devi, Hafizul Hasan, Rameshwar Uraon, and Satyanand Bhokta, remain part of the new cabinet too. Hemant Soren’s younger brother Basant could not find a place in the cabinet.

A commission for displacement issues in Jharkhand was also announced by Hemant Soren while talking to reporters. “We will draft a plan soon. We will also survey the socio-economic situation of displaced people, assess what they received and did not receive when they were displaced. A policy will be formulated accordingly,” said Soren.

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