Ajsu men protest against the lynching of mukhiya Mukesh Singh and his aide in Deoghar on Tuesday. (Arun Keshri)
Dumka, Aug. 27: Ajsu district president of Deoghar, who had a criminal record, was lynched by a mob of some 2,000 lathi-wielding villagers early this morning near a railway halt in Jasidih, 15km from district headquarters, when his verbal spat with a local group triggered frenzied mass violence.
The verbal altercation made Ajan Tola villagers so incensed with district Ajsu president Mukesh Singh that they called up people on cellphones from nearby rural pockets till the numbers swelled into a mob of 2,000, including some on bikes who chased the party leader’s Bolero.
Then, Mukesh, who was also the mukhiya of Bargunia panchayat in Deoghar, and his aide Santosh Singh alias Sonu, were dragged out and beaten to death, while their Bolero was set ablaze.
Police are unsure about the exact nature of the dispute that led to the violent assault.
Before daybreak, Mukesh started from Baghmari, his in-laws’ village, towards Deoghar along with five or six aides, including Sonu.
The war of words started with a night-vigilante group — young men keeping watch over the village — at Ajan Tola. As the heated exchanges kept mounting, the group of villagers called up others.
Hopelessly outnumbered, Mukesh and his aides tried to flee on their Bolero driven by Sonu, but some villagers chased them on their motorcycles. After a 2km chase, they caught up with the Bolero near Kumrabad railway halt on Jasidih-Madhupur line as the drop gate was closed.
In the ensuring chaos, some of the aides fled, while villagers dragged Mukesh and Sonu out of the vehicle. Then, the duo were beaten with sticks till they died. Finally, villagers poured diesel on the vehicle and torched it.
Deoghar SP Prabhat Kumar confirmed villagers “numbering around 2,000” had beaten Mukesh and Sonu to death around 4am.
“We are trying to trace Mukesh’s aides who managed to flee during the mob fury. Their statement would be invaluable in cracking the case,” the SP said.
He added that both Mukesh and Sonu had criminal antecedents.
Mukesh had at least two cases lodged against him in 2007, involving murder and robbery, with Jasidih police.
“We want to know if the mob fury was the fallout of an old enmity between Mukesh and a section of the villagers or some new, spur-of-the-moment confrontation,” the SP added.
The bodies were handed over to the respective families of Mukesh and Sonu for cremation after the autopsy.
“The only thing that is clear now is that villagers knew who they were attacking,” the SP said, adding that Mukesh’s Bolero also displayed an Ajsu party flag.
Former deputy chief minister and Ajsu boss Sudesh Mahto was furious.
“There should be a judicial inquiry into the gruesome murder. He (Mukesh) was a people’s representative as a mukhiya. The state is witnessing one of the worst phases of law and order,” Mahto told The Telegraph over phone from Itki.
Ajsu party members also enforced a two-hour roadblock near Tower Chowk, Deoghar, from noon onwards, demanding “immediate arrest” of the accused.