Ranchi, May 26: The sudden spurt in incidents of mob justice has become a major concern for Simdega police, who already have their hands full with rebel-sponsored violence and criminal activities.
Over the past few weeks, at least three such incidents have come to light in the district where people preferred to take law into their own hands and lynch suspected rebels and criminals instead of informing police.
Pushed into a tight corner, police are now faced with the uphill task of checking this street justice mentality by engaging the masses, especially the rural populace, in talks.
Two days ago, two youths were lynched in the Kersai police station area of Simdega when they allegedly tried to settle personal scores with a local resident, Durga Baiga.
The villagers even furnished evidences to prove that the deceased were armed with a pistol and a dagger. But police inquiries later revealed that one of them didn’t have criminal antecedents.
In another incident around three weeks ago, two suspected PLFI rebels were lynched at Rugri village under the Simdega police station. Police found out that while one of the deceased might have had some links with the PLFI, there was no criminal record against the other.
At Bansjore, two suspected rebels of Udan Dasta — a splinter group that mainly operates in neighbouring Odisha — were killed about 10-15 days ago.
“The list is endless. We have succeeded in cornering the rebel outfits to a considerable extent. But, now people have started taking law into their own hands. This is a dangerous trend and it may charge up the rebel outfits,” Simdega superintendent of police Asim Vikrant Minz told The Telegraph.
But civilians blamed police for the situation.
“People seem to have lost faith in police. They are scared that the criminals will be set free under political pressure or after greasing palms. Further, police don’t venture into remote areas after sunset and hence, detaining the criminals and rebels till they arrive is another risky affair. Moreover, village youths often want to teach lessons to crime lords in their own way,” said private tutor Sujit Bhagat.
The recent lynching cases have naturally turned the heat on police officers posted in the district, who are not only facing the ire of their department bosses but also human rights activists.
“I have directed the officers-in-charge and deputy superintendents of police to hold regular interactive sessions with the public. I am extensively touring the villages myself to make the residents realise that lynching suspected rebels and criminals was not a solution. But it will take time for the people to see reason. Till then, we will have to be alert,” Minz added.