PATNA: Six people, three of them Muslim cattle traders, were lynched by tribal villagers in Jharkhand’s Seraikela-Kharsawan district near the steel city of Jamshedpur in three separate incidents within 24 hours following rumours about child-lifting gangs on the prowl.
Police denied there was any communal angle behind the killings even as Jamshedpur, in neighbouring East Singhbhum district, witnessed massive public protests on Friday. Protesters, demanding immediate arrest of the killers, torched several vehicles, including two belonging to the police. “Investigations have found no communal angle. The incidents were caused due to rumours about child-abduction gangs circulating in these areas for the past few days. We have started a massive awareness drive,” said East Singhbhum SSP Anup T Mathew.
The three Muslim cattle traders were beaten to death by a mob of nearly 100 tribal villagers at Sosomoli village under Rajnagar police station area late on Thursday night. The victims – Sheikh Naim, 35, Sheikh Sajju, 25, and Sheikh Siraj, 26 – were going to buy cattle when their car was intercepted by the mob, said police. Suspecting them to be child-lifters, the mob beat them mercilessly. As Naim lay bleeding, the two other victims tried to flee, but failed as the mob chased them and beat them to death at Shobhapur village. Naim was taken to a hospital by a police team, but he was declared brought dead. A fourth man who was in the car was hurt and managed to flee, said a police official.
Two of the three other victims, who were attacked by the mob at Nagadih under Bagbera police station area were identified as Uttam Kumar Verma and Ganesh Kumar Gupta. The identity of the third victim is yet to be ascertained. Two other men were similarly lynched at Jadugora in East Singhbhum district on May 10 and 11 after being mistaken as child-lifters. The two men’s identities still remain known, said police.
The Opposition JMM, JVM and Congress attacked Jharkhand’s BJP-led government headed by Chief Minister Raghubar Das for the killings, saying there was complete failure of law and order in the state. Congress leader Alok Dubey said the cops must probe the reasons behind the murder of the three Muslim cattle traders. “So far no communal angle has come to surface. I have asked the DGP (special branch) to probe if there was anything like that,” said Jharkhand home secretary SKG Rahate.