Dumka, April 10: Six policemen and four tribals, including two women, were injured at Parpalsa village, 45km from district headquarters, as security forces numbering 60 and a mob of 5,000 villagers clashed over a land dispute judgment this evening around 5.30.
Trouble started brewing when a traditional tribal court or mode manjhi today passed the judgment of social boycott or bithlaha against two absentee litigants, Jaidhan Hembrom and his son Poddar, with punishment that included the demolition of their property.
To execute the judgment, a mob of 5,000 people from a dozen villages, many armed with bows and arrows, charged into the Hembrom residence.
District police acted swiftly, sending around 60 policemen to quell the mob. When teargas and lathicharge made the crowd more excited, the police resorted to firing, in which four tribals, including two young women, received bullet injuries.
When villagers retaliated with bows and arrows, six policemen, including an inspector and two officers-in-charge, were injured.
Among the injured policemen are inspector (town) Rajbali Sharma, officers-in-charge of Tongra and Shikaripara police stations, Saifuddin Ahmad and Satyendra Narayan Singh and two others, whose names are still not known.
Among villagers are Shivani Murmu (16) and Mangli Hembrom (25), both women and residents of Parpalsa, Mantri Murmu (25) and Sunil Hansdah (30), youths of Rangalia and Morapala villages. They received treatment at Raneshwar primary health centre, but unconfirmed reports said they were sent to a hospital in Bengal’s Shiuri.
“No sooner did the mode manjhi representatives award bithlaha, the tribal mob of over 5,000 of Parpalsa and adjoining villages went berserk and started demolishing Jaidhan Hembrom’s house,” DSP Vidhi Chandra Ram told The Telegraph.
He and SDO (civil) Sanjay Kumar Singh had camped at the village to supervise the situation.
Deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar and SP Hemant Toppo have rushed to the site of the violence.
“The police fired five rounds in self-defence after teargas and lathicharge failed to control the mob,” said the deputy commissioner.
The land dispute, pending for a decade, had been settled by SDO (civil) Sanjay Kumar Singh at a special camp court on April 4. A woman, Durgish Soren, and her son Gele Tudu, had claimed that the Hembroms had seized 25 bighas. The camp court ruled in the favour of the mother-son duo. But by then, the mode manjhi had already been called for April 10, which could not be revoked. So when the Hembroms did not bother to turn up for the traditional court at noon today, tempers ran high.
Anger had also been simmering against the administration for “meddling” by holding the special camp on April 4. The traditional court considers itself the sole arbiter of tribal law and order problems.