Skip to main content

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

The riverbed, where the incident took place
Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.
The JMM team, consisting of Afzal Anees (United Mili Forum), Bharat Bhushan Choudhary (activist), Saroj Hembram (Jan Sangharsh Samiti), Shadab Ansari (advocate, Human Rights Law Network [HRLN]), Sonal Tiwari (advocate, HRLN), Siraj Dutta (activist), Taramani Sahu (activist) and Ziyaullah (Association for Protection of Civil Rights [APCR]), came up a comprehensive fact-finding report after visiting to Jurmu village, Jurmu Gram Panchayat, Dumri block, Gumla district.
Among those whom it met included the wife, daughter and son of the deceased Prakash Lakda, wife and son of victim Peter Kerketta and several residents of the village, apart from interviewing Dr Khalko, in-charge, Community Health Centre, Dumri, and police officials of the local thana and Investigating Officer R Kumar.

A JJM note:

The team learnt that the four victims, along with other men and children of their village, were carving a dead ox on the bank of a river that flows near their village. The adivasis and other communities (such as Ghasis and Lohras) of this area traditionally eat beef. Some people from Jurmu were told by the owner of the dead ox to carve it for meat and its hide.
Prakash Lakda, who was lynched, Jenirius Minj and Peter Kerketta
While the Adivasis were doing so, they were attacked by a mob of about 35-40 persons from Jairagi. The mob was led by Sandeep Sahu, Santosh Sahu, Sanjay Sahu and his sons. While others managed to flee, Prakash, Peter, Belarius and Janerius were caught by the mob and beaten with lathis.
They were beaten all the way to Jairagi chowk, about a kilometre away from the place where the violence started. The mob chanted slogans of Jai Shri Ram and Jai Bajrang Bali and also forced the victims to chant the slogans. They were beaten for refusing to chant the slogans or not chanting them loud enough. 
After being beaten for around three hours, the victims were dumped by the perpetrators in front of the Dumri police thana at midnight. The perpetrators met the thana police and left. Instead of immediately rushing the victims to a hospital, the police made them wait outside in the cold for around four hours.
By the time they were taken to the local health centre, Prakash had already succumbed to his injuries. The doctor at the centre confirmed that Prakash was brought dead to the health centre and had probably died an hour before reaching the centre.
He also shared that the police in-charge Amit Kumar tried to force him to make an entry in the centre register that Prakash was alive when he was brought to the hospital. However, the doctor refused and noted that Prakash was brought dead.
The actions of the local police raise several questions. While the victims kept saying that they were carving an ox that had died, the police filed an FIR against them and 20-25 unnamed persons of their village on charges of cow slaughter.
Wife of Peter Kerketta, wife and daughter of Prakash Lakda
According to Amit Kumar, the FIR was filed on the basis of the thana chowkidar’s testimony, who was sent to the spot early morning on April 11. Amit Kumar was unable to recall the sequence of events after the lynching and there were several discrepancies between his account and those given by the victims and the doctor at the health centre. Of the seven perpetrators named by the victims, only two were arrested by April 15. 
According to the Adivasis of Jurmu, people of other communities (including Sahus) routinely ask them to take away dead bovines. Dispute over the consumption of bovine meat never took place amongst the different communities of the village in the past.
This is one more incident in the long list of lynchings in Jharkhand. Over the last five years, at least 11 persons (nine Muslims and two Adivasis) were lynched and eight more beaten by mobs in the name of cow protection or over other communal issues. The roles of the local administration and police in most of the cases leave a lot to be desired.
This violence is also an attack on people’s right to eat the food of their choice, which itself endangers the right to life. Beef is one of cheapest sources of proteins available to people in Jharkhand, who suffer from alarming levels of hunger and under-nutrition.
Last year, perpetrators of a mob lynching in Ramgarh and Godda were felicitated by Jayant Sinha, a union minister and Nishikant Dubey a Member of Parliament from the BJP respectively. The current Lok Sabha MP from the constituency of Jurmu, Surarshan Bhagat from BJP, is yet to meet the victims’ families or visit the village. No BJP leader has even condemned the incident till now.
The fact-finding team
The silence of the BJP indicates its tacit approval of the incident. It is another example of the rising intolerance and repression against the Adivasis, Dalits and religious minorities under the BJP rule. It also exposes the plans of the party to polarise votes in the Lok Sabha elections on religious lines.
JJM demands that the government immediately...
  1. Withdraws the false case of cow slaughter filed against the Adivasis of Jurmu,
  2. arrest all the perpetrators involved in the mob violence and file charges against them under The Scheduled Castes And The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 
  3. Take action against the local police for its long delay in arranging medical treatment for the victims and filing of false case of cow slaughter, 
  4. Provide interim compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the deceased’s family and Rs. 10 lakhs each to the injured victims, 
  5. Comply with the recent Supreme Court judgement on lynching, 
  6. Repeal the Bovine Animal Prohibition of Slaughter Act as it is a direct attack on people’s livelihood and right to eat food of their choice 
  7. Protect people’s right to food of one’s choice. 
JJM also demands the opposition mahagathbandhan which has kept quiet on this incidence to rise up to the occasion and stand with the Adivasis. 
The video testimony of the victims, the doctor and the ox-owner:
---
Click HERE for full fact-finding report

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".