PATNA: Ramgarh town in central Jharkhand remained tense Friday even as Section 144 was imposed following the lynching of a Muslim coal trader by a mob of 100 people for allegedly carrying beef in his car on Thursday.
Mariam Khatoon, the widow of the lynched coal trader Alimuddin, said it was Bajrang Dal activists who killed him. “My husband was not trading in meat. He was into coal trading,” she said, refuting claims by some police officials on Thursday.
Bajrang Dal’s Jharkhand chief, Devendra Gupta, denied any role of the organisation in the lynching. “These are totally baseless claims. The Ramgarh units of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were dissolved last year,” he said. Bajrang Dal’s Ramgarh unit chief, Chhotu Verma, however, is absconding since the lynching, said police sources.
Policemen were deployed at Alimuddin’s village, Manua, and his last rights were conducted amid tight security with thousands of people attending it on Friday. IG Murari Lal Meena said 12 people, including Chhotu Verma, have been named in the FIR and that raids were being conducted for their arrest.
Thousands of Muslim men and women came onto the roads of Ramgarh and nearby villages to protest the lynching and set afire about 12 vehicles on Friday. Sources said a Hindu man’s house was attacked by nearly 100 Muslim villagers as they suspected that he was involved in the lynching.
Alimuddin alias Asgar Ansari, 45, was mercilessly beaten and his Maruti van was set afire by the mob at Bazartand village, some 50 km from the Jharkhand capital Ranchi. The mob intercepted his van, in which he was allegedly carrying around 200 kg of meat, and attacked him. He was taken to Ramgarh’s Sadar hospital by police and was later shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi, where he died minutes after getting admitted.
Photographs of Alimuddin bleeding while being beaten up, his van aflame and pieces of meat strewn around on the road were circulated by his attackers. The lynching took place on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Ahmedabad that killing people in the name of gau bhakti (cow worship) was unacceptable and that nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands.
This is the second attack on Muslims this month by cow vigilantes in Jharkhand, where the BJP-led government headed by CM Raghubar Das faces accusations of not doing enough to stop such attacks. Usman Ansari, 55, a dairy owner in Giridih district, was thrashed and his house set ablaze by a mob after the carcass of a cow was found near his home on Tuesday.