Public Protest Against Mob Lynching and Inaction of Jharkhand Police

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Ranchi: Large number of tribals, activists and concerned citizen from several districts in Jharkhand protested against the lynching of a tribal over alleged cow slaughter by a mob at Dumri in Gumla district.

On April 10, 2019, one Prakash Lakda, a 50-year-old Adivasi of Jurmu village in Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob from the neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the assault by mob.

Along with Lakda, 11 other persons have been lynched so far in Jharkhand, of whom nine were Muslims and the remaining two were Adivasis.

On Friday, May 31, Kendriya Jan Sangharsh Samiti (KJSS) organised a protest against the violence, killing, and police inaction in Dumri block. The protest was attended by thousands of people from Gumla, Latehar and Ranchi districts. Several human rights activists of the state also participated in it.

KJSS’s Saroj Hembrom shared that a fact finding team of human rights found that the four victims, along with other men and children of their village, were skinning a dead ox on the bank of a river that flows near their village. Some people from Jurmu were told by the owner of the dead ox to carve it for its meat and its hide. While the Adivasis were doing so, they were attacked by a mob of about 35-40 persons from Jairagi village.

After being beaten for around three hours, the victims were dumped by the perpetrators in front of Dumri police station at midnight.

But instead of immediately rushing the victims to a hospital, the police made them wait outside in the cold for around four hours. By the time they were taken to the local health centre, Lakda had already succumbed to his injuries.

While the victims kept saying that they were carving an ox that had died, the police filed an FIR against them and 20-25 unnamed persons of their village on charges of cow slaughter.

Jerome Kujur of KJSS informed the gathering about police inaction in Prakash Lakda’s death. And a member of the fact finding team, James Herenj said that he was very saddened to learn about the false reporting on this matter by the local media. He read in the newspaper that the Adivasis began to fight among themselves while distributing cow meat, which led to Lakda’s death.

Jean Dreze, the renowned development economist and social activist who had met the SP on this matter, said on the occasion that the incident in Jurmu is a plain and simple case of murder which received the blessings of the local police and the state government.

Dreze added that in the past few years, at least 40 persons have died across the country in similar acts of violence.

KJSS unequivocally condemned Prakash Lakda’s death. The Samiti said that they want peace in the entire region. But the incident has created an atmosphere of fear.

At the end of the protest, the representatives met the local administration and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Jharkhand with the following demands:

  1. Withdrawal of false cases of cow slaughter filed against the Adivasis of Jurmu
  2. Arrest all the perpetrators involved in the mob violence and file charges against them under The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
  3. Take action against the local police for its long delay in arranging medical treatment for the victims and filing of false case of cow slaughter
  4. Provide interim compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the deceased’s family and Rs. 10 lakhs each to the injured victims
  5. Compliance with the recent Supreme Court judgement on lynching

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