5000 people come together in Jharkhand at anti-lynching protest

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: June 1, 2019
In perhaps the largest protest against lynching, over 5,000 people gathered in Dumri in Jharkhand on May 31. The immediate trigger was the lynching on April 10, 2019 of a 50-year-old Adivasi man Prakash Lakra, a resident of Jurmu village in Dumri block of Gumla who was was beaten to death by a group of people from the neighboring village of Jairagi on suspicion of killing a bull.

Three others - Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minge and Jenerius Minz - were seriously injured in what can only be described as an instance of lynching. Furthermore, there are questions being raised as to how the local police responded in the aftermath of the case. Deeply disturbed by the inhumanity of the incident over 5,000 people held a demonstration in Dumri on May 31.

These included people from Gumla, the state capital of Ranchi and even Latehar where two people suspected of being cow smugglers were lynched and hanged in March 2016. The protest was organised by Kendriya Jan Sangharsh Samiti and many of the state's human rights activists were also present at the demonstration.

Addressing the gathering, Saroj Hembram of the Jan Sangharsh Samiti said that this incident was examined by her and several other human rights organizations. It was clear in the investigation that the owner of a dead bull, a resident of Jurmu, had spoken to the victims and other villagers to cut off the flesh and remove the skin. When they were doing this, they were attacked by a group of about 35-40 people in Jairagi village.

The merciless blows, kicks and punches continued for three hours! After this the mob left the victims in front of Dumri Police Station around midnight. Rather than sending the victims to the hospital immediately, the police allegedly made them wait in the open for about four hours. By the time he was taken to the local health center, Prakash had died.

Saroj Hembram reminded the people that in the last four years in Jharkhand, 11 persons were beaten to death, 9 of whom were Muslims and the remaining two were tribals. Jirom Kuzur of the Kendriya Jan Sangharsh Samiti also raised questions about the role of police in the light of the death of Prakash Lakra. Human rights activist James Herange said in the investigation that he too is sad that the news came out in the newspaper that the people of Jurmu began to fight and share the meat with each other, due to which Prakash Parka died.

Activist Jean Dreze, who went to talk to Superintendent of Police in this case, said that what happened in Jurmu was a direct murder, alleging it took place with the blessings of police and state government. He also said that such an incident is happening not only in Jharkhand but also elsewhere across the country, probably due to a surge in Hindutva ideology in the country.

Ashok Verma said that there is a common culture in India in which people respect each other's thoughts and religions. But there is an organization in the country which is spreading communalism in the country in the desire to make this country a Hindu nation. 

Shockingly, rather than taking immediate action against the perpetrators of this violence, the police registered a fierce FIR against the tribal victims! So far none of the perpetrators have been caught.
The protesters submitted the following demands in a memorandum to the Governor in the Block Office.
1. The fictitious FIR of cow slaughter registered against the tribals of Jurmu should be cancelled.
2. All perpetrators involved in the lynching should be arrested and registered under the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act.
3. Take action against the local police for filing false cases, and for delay in taking the victims for medical treatment.
4. The family of the deceased Prakash Lakra should be given a compensation of Rs 15 lakhs.
5. Compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be given to the injured.
6. Complete compliance with the Supreme Court's recent ruling on lynching.