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Nine arrested over mob lynching in eastern India

The second such incident in Jharkhand state's capital in one week causes alarm

Nine arrested over mob lynching in eastern India

Protesters rally in New Delhi in April 2019 to condemn a mob lynching in Jharkhand. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj)

Police in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have arrested nine people in connection with the mob lynching of a 26-year-old Muslim man on the outskirts of Ranchi.

According to media reports, this was the second such incident in the state capital in one week. Earlier, a 22-year-old man was beaten in the Upper Bazar area on suspicion of theft and later died.

“No religion or society in this world can accept such a heinous crime. We appeal to the government to make a law to check these inhuman acts,” Ratan Tirkey, a member of the tribal advisory committee of the Jharkhand government, told UCA News.

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“For the past two to three years, we have been hearing the barbaric news of mob lynchings in the state. It is condemnable and unacceptable because for centuries people here have been living in harmony and brotherhood.

“The state is mostly comprised of tribal people who are by nature a peace-loving people and who have a good rapport with other faiths. We had no such problem in the past, so it is a matter of great concern and it has to be dealt with quickly.”

In the latest incident, police said Mubarak Khan was tied to an electricity pole and beaten to death for allegedly stealing a motorcycle tire in Sirka village on March 14.

“In the early hours of Sunday, two people were caught by villagers during a theft. One of them ran away but Mubarak was caught and beaten to death,” Niraj Sinha, director general of police, told The Indian Express.

The police registered a first information report on Mubarak’s death based on a complaint filed by his brother Tabarak Khan at Angara police station. 

Tabarak said he received information through the former village head at 3am that his brother had been beaten to death around 1am at Sirka village near Thakur Thepa.

“My brother was beaten up by more than 20 people in a planned manner and one Saheb Ram Mahato had threatened my brother four days prior to the incident,” he said.

In the incident on March 7, Sachin Verma was assaulted by a mob on suspicion of theft. He died the following morning.

The administration has suspended three police personnel for dereliction of duty while two laborers who had beaten him were arrested.

In April 2019, a mob lynched a tribal man in Jharkhand’s Gumla district for skinning a dead bull. Three others were injured in the incident.

In March 2016, cow vigilantes abducted and lynched cattle trader Majloom Ansari and schoolboy Imtiaz Khan in Latehar district while they were on their way to a cattle fair in a neighboring district. In December 2018, a local court sentenced eight people to life for their involvement in the assault.

Cow vigilantism gained widespread attention when Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim farmer from Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, was lynched for allegedly possessing beef in his house in September 2015. However, laboratory tests proved the meat was not beef.

Minority groups say that since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, such incidents have increased with no government official condemning them.

“It is a matter of concern because it is a new trend of killing in the name of religion and caste and it has exposed that communal forces have reached the last person in the country,” said Mukti Prakash Tirkey, editor of a weekly newspaper on tribal affairs published in New Delhi.

“It has exposed our weakness to the world that we could not prevent this unwanted and uncalled for incident.”

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