The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Instant justice wave singes 10

Rajapakar (Vaishali), Sept. 13: The sting of instant justice singed ten persons early this morning at Dhelphodwa Chowk under Rajapakar police station of Vaishali, about 40 km from Patna.

A mob of over 300 people battered the 10 persons, accused of theft, to death and severely injured another. The victims belonged to nomadic community.

Witnesses said the incident took place around 4.30am, when the 11 persons were fleeing after allegedly committing theft at the house of one Mithilesh Rai at Chouripar Muhalla under Rajapakar, having 22 tolas with dominant Yadav population.

When villagers on night patrol saw them, they raised an alarm screaming “chor, chor” to gather more people.

With wooden sticks, blunt iron rods and other agricultural tools, the mob ran behind the 11 persons and overpowered them at Dhelphodwa Chowka, exactly 2.5 km from the police station and 3 km from the place of theft.

The mob, disgusted with police force for its alleged inaction despite a dozen of theft cases over the past three months, took upon itself the responsibility to do instant justice.

Bhagwat Rai, a witness, said: “People thrashed the thieves with lathis, bricks and any object they found good enough to batter them.”

Rai said though a villager had informed the police, the personnel arrived only after 10 people were lynched to death.

One suspected thief, Ranjit Kureri, was saved by the police and taken to Sadar hospital in Hajipur. Later, he was referred to PMCH with severe head injuries. Ranjit, in his declaration to Hajipur sub-divisional officer, said: “We broke into a house around 1am and stole two gold chains, a pair of earrings, nose rings, silver anklets and some cash.”

He also identified his accomplices as Sanjay, Bara, Anjay, Gulten, Sulten, Srinath, Jugnu, Ashok, Nandkishore and Mukesh. While eight of them were between 20 and 30 years, one was 16 and another was 40.

Ranjit said he and all his accomplices were permanent residents of Tajpur in Samastipur, 35km from Rajapakar, and had recently camped at Sarai in Muzaffarpur.

Even as Tirhut inspector-general of police Krishna Choudhary conceded the personnel should have had reached the spot before the tragedy, he defended his force saying: “You know mob’s mentality.

Though a case of lynching has been registered against 300 people, the IG said it would be tough to detect the culprits. “No one is coming forward to record statement. Everyone is telling us they just heard it,” said the IG.

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