Victims of Mob Lynching see a ray of hope as Jharkhand gets a new government

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Shahnawaz Akhtar
Shahnawaz Akhtar
is Founder of eNewsroom. He loves doing human interest, political and environment related stories.

Ranchi: Jharkhand Election mandate has shown a thumbs up to the Gathbandhan and the door to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The result is an indicator for the public anger, which stemmed from a large number of mob lynching that took place in the state, between 2016 and 2019.

At least 23 people have been lynched in Jharkhand. The first case of lynching took place in Latehar district in 2016. Most of the lynchings that took place in Jharkhand, were over petty allegations like – bike theft, child lifting along with other allegations like cattle transportation and beef consumption. Imtiaz Khan, a boy as young as 12 years of age was beaten to death and then hanged from a tree in Latehar. Gautam Verma, a student pursuing his Bachelors in Computer Application (BCA) and a 70-year-old woman Sakhi Devi are among others, who became victims of rampant mob lynching in Jharkhand.

In September, five mob lynching cases had taken place on a single day.  When Lok Sabha polls were on in April, one Prakash Lakda was killed allegedly for cow slaughtering in Gumla, while Mubarak Ansari was killed just ahead of Jharkhand Assembly Polls in November.

Despite the cases being pursued in Court and civil society taking on the streets to demand justice, families of the victims are still waiting for justice to be delivered.

In the very first lynching incident in Jharkhand- Latehar lynching, the prime accuse Vinod Prajapati was never arrested.

And in some cases, like that of Alimuddin Ansari, intentionally criminals were patronised by politicians like Jayant Sinha, which further discouraged the victim’s families during their fight for justice.

Now there being a change of guard, with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) led Gathbandhan getting the people’s mandate, the hope for justice among the families of the victims has soared higher.

“The trial for Tabrez’s case has not yet begun. Now I hope that the new government will take action on it,” said Shaista.

“I want justice at any cost,” reacted Shaista Perween, wife of Tabrez Ansari, who was lynched to death in June, earlier this year. The merciless lynching of Tabrez was recorded on video. His case was even heard at the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

But back home in Jharkhand, all the eight accused are on bail now.

“The trial for Tabrez’s case has not yet begun. Now I hope that the new government will take action on it,” said Shaista.

Another lynching case that had rocked the nation was that of Alimuddin Ansari, in 2017, especially after MP Jayant Sinha garlanded his killers when they stepped out on bail. In this case, all the 11 murderers are out on bail now.

After Alimuddin was lynched to death, his eldest son too dies due to lack of medical treatment. His wife Mariam Khatoon not only wants justice but also a government job for her younger son.

“Since Jayant Sinha garlanded my husband’s killers, we lost faith in the government. We got discouraged and did not know how to go about with getting justice. But as Raghubar Das’s government has gone, we are hoping to get justice,” said Mariam.

He further said, “I had met Chief Minister Raghubar Das and had written so many times to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for CBI inquiry, but neither Raghubar Das accepted my request nor PM replied to my letters.”

Uttam Verma lost three members of from his family in a single incident had lost all hope of getting justice during the previous government. He had lost two brothers – Gautam and Vikash Verma and grandmother- Sakhi Devi. Along with three family members, one Gangesh Gupta, a friend of Uttam was also killed in suspicion of being a child lifter at Nagadih in Jamshedpur.

On that night in a separate incident, three Muslim men were also lynched near Nagadih itself.

“I am a witness to that fateful night and even after two years, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I am unable to sleep. The incident still haunts me,” rued Uttam while talking to eNewsroom.

He further said, “I had met Chief Minister Raghubar Das and had written so many times to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for CBI inquiry, but neither Raghubar Das accepted my request nor PM replied to my letters.”

Advocate Shadab Ansari, who had fought the case of Alimuddin Ansari in the lower court and has closely monitored several lynching cases told eNewsroom, “The new government should appoint a special public prosecutor to monitor all the lynching cases in Jharkhand. The government should also hand over cases to competent police officers to speed up the trials.”

“Now, as Hemant Soren is going to become the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, I want to put forward my request for CBI inquiry into the lynching incident that took place on that fateful night. I want to know the mastermind of the incident in which seven people were killed in one night,” he added.

Advocate Shadab Ansari, who had fought the case of Alimuddin Ansari in the lower court and has closely monitored several lynching cases told eNewsroom, “The new government should appoint a special public prosecutor to monitor all the lynching cases in Jharkhand. The government should also hand over cases to competent police officers to investigate the cases in which chargesheet has not been filed or investigation is pending.”

Significantly, the Supreme Court in its guidelines has told to all the states in July, 2018 to run all lynching cases in fast track courts. However, barring Ramgarh lynching case, no other lynching case has been tried in a fast track court.

And after the lynching of Tabrez, human rights activist Harsh Mander had filed a petition in Ranchi High Court requesting it to order the state government to implement Supreme Court guidelines on mob lynching cases in the state.

Shahnawaz Akhtar
Shahnawaz Akhtar
is Founder of eNewsroom. He loves doing human interest, political and environment related stories.

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