Jharkhand, among the few states to pass a bill against mob lynching, witnessed yet another such crime on Friday when a 20-year-old youth was tied to an electric pole in Ranchi and allegedly beaten to death over suspicion of theft.
The deceased Wajid Ansari’s father Abdul Rahman Ansari said: “He had performed Roza at our home (in Pandari village in Chanho block) around 4.30am and gone out. He used to smoke ganja, but he never stole anything. After a while, I heard that villagers in nearby Mahuatoli were beating my son. I ran to Mahuatoli to find my son tied to an electric pole and being thrashed by some villagers.”
“The villagers said my son had entered someone’s house to steal. I asked what they had recovered from his possession. They said a packet of ganja had been found. My son was bleeding profusely. Soon, police reached the spot and took my son to hospital. He died a few hours later,” said Abdul, 67.
“Is possessing ganja a reason to kill somebody?” he asked.
Wajid, the youngest of Abdul’s three sons, used to paint signboards and walls with his father.
“My elder sons live with their families in the city. He (Wajid) was here with me to help me earn my livelihood,” Abdul said.
Abdul has named nine persons in the police complaint, of whom three have been arrested.
Chanho police station officer-in-charge Ranjay Kumar said the trio were primarily responsible for the lynching.
“We have arrested Jeevan Oraon (in whose house Wajid had allegedly entered), Gobardhan Oraon and Nandu Oraon. We have lodged a case of murder. Other sections will be added based on the post-mortem report,” Kumar said, adding that prima facie it appeared that the youth had attempted to enter the house to steal.
Ranchi SSP Kaushal Kishore said: “We have arrested the three prime accused and a search is on to arrest the others involved in the incident.”
Jharkhand was the fourth state after Bengal, Manipur and Rajasthan to pass a bill against mob lynching. The bill, passed in December 2021, is awaiting the President’s consent
In January 2022, a youth had been burnt to death in Simdega over allegations of felling trees. Another youth was lynched in Hazaribagh in February 2022, while a forest committee member was beaten to death in May for resisting tree felling. Three women were lynched near Ranchi in September on the suspicion that they practised witchcraft. A youth was killed inGumla in October after being accused of stealing goats. A 47-year-old resident of Gomia in Bokaro was beaten to death the same month over an alleged affair.
In January this year, a middle-aged person with criminal antecedents was beaten to death over allegations of goat theft at a village in Giridih district.