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Mob lynching, murder of Jharkhand Adivasi: People from 3 districts protest cop "inaction"

By Our Representative
Hundreds of people from Gumla, Latehar and Ranchi districts of Jharkhand have protested against police "inaction" against the killing of Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block. The protest took place under the banner of the Kendriya Jan Sangharsh Samiti (JSS), a civil rights organization.
Lakda was lynched to death on May 10 by a mob of men from the 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.
JSS’ Saroj Hembrom told the protesters 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. Some people from Jurmu were told by the owner of the dead ox to carve it for meat and its hide.
While the Adivasis were doing it, they were attacked by a mob of about 35-40 persons from Jairagi. After being beaten for around three hours, the victims were dumped by the perpetrators in front of the Dumri police thana at midnight.
"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", said the JSS activist. 
"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", said Hembrom, adding, In the past four years, 11 persons have been lynched in Jharkhand, of whom nine were Muslims and the rest two Adivasis.
Another JSS activist Jerome Kujur and James Herenj, referring to "police inaction" in Prakash Lakda’s death, said that their fact finding team had found about "false reporting on this matter by the local media." Newspapers had reported that the Adivasis began to fight among themselves while distributing cow meat, which led to Lakda’s death.
Well-known academic and social activist Jean Dreze, who met the Superintendent of Police following the protest, said that the incident in Jurmu is a plain and simple case of murder which received the blessings of the local police and the state government. He added, in the past few years, at least 40 persons have died across the country in similar acts of violence.
"This is a direct outcome of the growing Hindutva in India. Ashok Verma said that one organization in the country wants to make India a Hindu nation, for which it is spreading communalism", Dreze alleged.
In a list of demands submitted to the authorities, JSS said in a memorandum that the state government must withdrawal false cases of cow slaughter filed against the Adivasis of Jurmu, and arrest of all the perpetrators involved in the mob violence must be charged under the anti-atrocities Act.
At the same time, the memorandum added, the state authorities must 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, and pay interim compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the deceased’s family and Rs 10 lakhs each to the injured victims.

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