PATNA: Seven more people have been arrested in connection with the lynching incidents in southern Jharkhand and a leader of the BJP’s minorities cell was among three local politicians booked for inciting riots during the protests following the lynching, police said on Wednesday.
Aftab Ahmed Siddiqui, the East Singbhum district president of the BJP’s minorities cell, and two other Muslim leaders from the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress were among 68 people named in an FIR lodged at Azadnagar police station, said officials.
Siddiqui, considered close to food civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Saryu Rai, and the two other accused leaders – Babur Khan of JMM and Feroze Khan of the Congress – allegedly led mobs in pelting stones at policemen and setting several vehicles afire during the violent protests in Jamshedpur on May 20.
According to a statement by assistant police sub-inspector Sheikh Noor Minz, Siddiqui and the two other leaders incited the mobs to mount lethal attacks on policemen trying to pacify the angry protestors.
The six arrests take the total number of people arrested for the lynching incidents to 27. Nine people, including four Muslim cattle traders, were beaten to death in a span of eight days by rampaging mobs, mainly comprising tribals, in East Singbhum and neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan districts following widespread rumours that child-lifting gangs were on the prowl in the area.
Seven people were killed on May 18 and two others on May 11. “There is no truth in reports published in a section of the media that the lynching incidents took place in the presence of a large number of police personnel.
There were only a couple of policemen present at the spot in Nagadih. They were outnumbered by the mob,” said East Singhbhum SSP Anoop T Mathew. Raids are on to arrest all the people named in the FIRs, he added.