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CM visits massacre site, vows strict police action

Hemant Soren asks the DC and SP to ensure government benefits to the family members of those killed

By Animesh Bisoee & Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur
  • Published 24.01.20, 12:08 AM
  • Updated 24.01.20, 12:08 AM
  • 2 mins read
Pathalgadi or stone plaques outside Burugulikera village in West Singhbhum district, where the carnage happened, on Wednesday. (PTI)

Chief minister Hemant Soren on Thursday met family members of the seven men massacred allegedly by pathalgadi supporters at Burugulikera village in West Singhbhum district.

Hemant arrived at the village, under Gudri police station of Chakradharpur sub-division, around 150km south of Jamshedpur, in a helicopter along with Manoharpur MLA Joba Majhi, Chaibasa MLA Deepak Birua, Chakradharpur MLA Sukhram Oraon, Kharsawan MLA Dasrath Gagrai and and Garhwa MLA Mithilesh Thakur at around 2.15am and spent over an hour.

He consoled the family members of the murdered villagers and interacted with them in the local Ho dialect.

“The state is my home and all residents are part of my family. Under no circumstances would any member be allowed to take the law into their hands. We will ensure that strong action is taken against those responsible for this brutal incident. I have told the family members that the government is with them during the period of grief,” the chief minister said.

In the presence of West Singhbhum deputy commissioner (DC) Arava Rajkamal and superintendent of police (SP) Indrajeet Mahatha, Hemant told reporters: “I have asked the DC and SP to provide security to the family members of those killed and to ensure government benefits to the family members. The government is planning a new system for widow pension and the surviving women members would get a pension amount based on the number of children and surviving members in their family.”

The massacre happened on Sunday night, but the bodies were found only on Wednesday morning.

“The government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) and all aspects will be probed in a stipulated time period,” Hemant said. “The police intelligence network has to be strengthened so that such incidents do not recur anywhere in the state. The government is committed to ensure rule of law and strictest action will be taken against criminals.”

Police and CRPF personnel are searching for the four persons who are still missing, two from each warring group.

Additional director-general of police (ADG operations) M.L. Meena said two complaints have been lodged, one from each side.

“The police have already arrested three persons who were detained yesterday (Wednesday) and a few more are being questioned,” Meena said. “We will come to know the real reason for the brutal murders after the investigation is complete. But apparently the murder was retaliation by some villagers to the ransacking of their houses on January 16 night by those killed along with some armed men.”

Police had detained Raisingh Burh, Jiten Burh and Kore Burh on Wednesday.

Meena, also the state police spokesperson, refused to identify if the armed persons involved in the ransacking of the houses were part of any rebel group. “The area is a stronghold of PLFI but we cannot say conclusively if the armed persons were from PLFI,” he said.

Police sources said a group led by deputy mukhiya James Burh and eight others along with armed men had ransacked the houses of Raisingh Burh and five others on January 16 night and had kidnapped Lodra Burh and Roshan Borjo, who are missing. The gram sabha had called a meeting on January 19 where it was decided to punish the perpetrators. Bushra Burh and Sukuwa Burh tried to escape from the meeting and are still missing. The villagers then dragged the remaining seven to the forest and beheaded them.

It is alleged that those who were killed were opposed to pathalgadi while most villagers support the tribal practice of self-governance.