BHOPAL: Eleven days after two middle-aged tribal men were lynched by a mob of cow vigilantes allegedly associated with Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sena in Madhya Pradeshs’ Seoni district, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday ordered the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident.
He also ordered the transfer of Seoni police superintendent Kumar Prateek from the tribal-dominated district and further directed the removal of entire staff of Kurai Police Station and Badalpur Police Outpost in the district.The SIT headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Rajesh Rajoura will visit Seoni district soon and submit its findings within 10 days.So far 13 men, mostly hailing from Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sena, have been arrested in connection with the lynching.
Questioning the delayed response of the CM in the matter, former CM and state Congress president Kamal Nath tweeted that action has been taken under the growing pressure from tribals. “The government was first trying to cover up the matter through statements aimed at saving the accused belonging to outfits allied to the BJP. Now the government has ordered a SIT probe under pressure from tribals. Even this action is inadequate; instead of an SIT probe, a high-level probe is needed,” Nath tweeted.
Both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had sent fact-finding teams to the Simiriya village where the lynching happened on May 3. The Congress had demanded a judicial probe by a sitting high court judge in the entire matter. The BJP team had to face resistance from tribals, who raised anti-Shivraj Singh Chouhan slogans in presence of the party panel.
The lynching led to massive public protests in Seoni district, which is part of the tribal- dominated Mahakoshal region, where the ruling BJP had performed miserably in the 2018 Assembly polls.
Tribal district on transit route of cattle smugglers
Housing a population of around 18 lakh, 65%-70% of which Gond tribals, Seoni district has emerged as a hot spot of cattle smuggling. The district has second largest bovine population (over 6 lakh) in the state. It also has second highest number of non-vegetarians in the state which has a stringent anti-cow slaughter law. According to senior police officials the district falls on the transit route of cattle smugglers