Relatives of Kumar Govind outside Bokaro General Hospital, where he died, on Monday night. (Pankaj Singh)
A 23-year-old man died of his injuries in hospital on Monday night after he was battered with iron rods and sticks for taking on inebriated eve-teasers in a railway colony near Bokaro steel city the same evening.
Three of the eight accused were arrested on Tuesday.
Kumar Govind, a small-time contractor in Kurmidih Railway Colony, 15km from the city, was returning home from work around 6pm when he spotted two local youths, identified as Guddu Kumar (23) and Brajesh Kumar Chourasia (24), making obscene passes at a 19-year-old tribal girl of the same neighbourhood.
Govind strongly objected to their indecent behaviour and compelled the duo to leave the girl alone.
According to Balidih police, the rogues scuttled off from Kurmidih, but only to return with six others an hour and a half later to teach Govind a lesson.
The young man, who was sitting outside his house, was dragged away by the collar and beaten up mercilessly till he lost consciousness. Elder brother Virendra rushed Govind to Bokaro General Hospital, where he succumbed around 10pm.
Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh said that three more youths — Brajesh, Bachha Singh (23) and Gopal Singh (22) — had been arrested in connection with the incident. “They are all small-time suppliers of building materials. We are looking for four others, including another main accused. Raids are being conducted,” he added.
Officer-in-charge of Balidih thana R.K. Singh confirmed that the tease gang was drunk at the time of the incident.
“Hunt is on for Ravi Raj Kishore (23), Nikhil Kumar (24) and Ganesh Singh (23), besides Guddu and another. They are all petty contractors and some have criminal records,” he said, adding that the girl was summoned to the police station on Tuesday and her statement had been taken.
According to local resident S.K. Mahto, eve-teasing is a regular affair in Kurmidih and the particular tribal girl had been targeted more than once. “She is the daughter of a daily labourer and did not muster courage to stand up against her tormentors. We had often thought of launching a protest,” he said.
Former chairperson of State Commission for Women, Jharkhand, expressed concern over the incident. “Citizens need to make concerted efforts to fight the menace. Individual protests can lead to unfortunate incidents. Policing should be intensified,” she said.
R.K.P. Singh, a former DGM of Bokaro Steel, squarely blamed police for the worsening law and order situation in and around the city.