Dubey condemned the violence on Friday last week but wondered whether the four tribals were being wrongly implicated. He alleged that the accused tribals were arrested due to pressure from the Congress and demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case.
Godda: It’s been a week since the news of two Muslim men being lynched on the suspicion of stealing cattle came in. A few days after the incident, The Bharatiya Janata Party's MP from Godda in Jharkhand, Nishikant Dubey said that he will provide the legal expenses of those arrested in connection to the case. He alleged that the accused tribals were arrested due to pressure from the Congress and demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case.
"The arrests were made under pressure from Opposition parties. The Congress, on one hand, says tribals can't murder, and on the other, they got the tribals arrested. How can four persons be identified when a thousand people gathered (during the incident)?" Dubey told PTI. "I will foot the legal expenses of the arrested persons from the lower court to the Supreme Court,” he said.
Munshi Murmu, Kaleshwar Soren, Kishan Rai Tudu and Johan Kisku were arrested for orchestrating the attack. Dubey condemned the violence on Friday last week but wondered whether the four tribals were being wrongly implicated.
“A poor person has the constitutional right to get free legal assistance. It is the duty of the state to provide such person free legal aid. Since I am the public representative of this area, I conceded to their request to help them out. The families of the arrested accused approached me seeking legal assistance for them. They are poor villagers and could not bear the expenses,” said Dubey in a report by Hindustan Times said.
Sirajuddin Ansari (45), aka Charaku, and Murtaza Ansari (40) were suspected to have stolen buffaloes at Dullu village in Deodand, 45km from Godda district headquarters. They were beaten to death in Bankati village by enraged residents of the neighbouring tribal-dominated Dullu village, who suspected them and three others of stealing their buffaloes. After a night-long search, the villagers had allegedly caught the two with the cattle and then beat them to death. Three others suspected to be involved in cattle theft had managed to escape. They were among the five people who had entered Dullu village to allegedly steal buffaloes on Tuesday and were caught by the mob at Bankatti village. A video circulating on social media shows one of them being hung over a bamboo pole with a head injury and being dragged on the ground.
“Dubey has represented Godda twice in Parliament and he is a member of several parliamentary committees, including public accounts and finance. Asked if he will help families of the murdered men, Dubey said that none from their side had approached him. “I would provide similar help to the victims if they want,” he said in the report by HT.
Congress accuses BJP-RSS for attack
Talking to TOI, Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee team member and Jamtara MLA Irfan Ansari alleged that the lynching took place in one village and the bodies were dumped in a tribal-dominated village to implicate them in the case. “We were told that BJP leaders and RSS workers had visited the village a week before the lynching took place,” he said and accused BJP of polarising people on communal lines.
He called Dubey’s eagerness to bear all legal expenses of the four persons as “shameful.”
In a report by The Telegraph, Ansari said the developments lent credence to his claims of BJP-RSS orchestrating the attack on members of a particular community over false charges of cattle theft. He also alleged that the BJP-RSS had engineered the plot to attack a particular community and create an atmosphere of terror. He also accused Dubey of having a role in the incident. "I visited the village where the incident took place. After talking to the local people and watching the videos, it became clear that the attack wasn't triggered by cattle theft. The attack was intended at targeting a particular community. Ek sharyantra ke tahat, adivasiyon ko aage kar diya gaya hai (It was a conspiracy and the adivasis have been made the scapegoat) I believe that it could also be the handiwork of the local MP (Dubey) who is now trying to save real accused,” he said.
Irfan said Dubey was not concerned about the people of Santhal Parganas or else he would have sympathised with the bereaved families.
Police still says it was not cow vigilantism
In the PTI report, Godda Superintendent of Police Rajiv Ranjan Singh maintained that it was a case of cattle theft and strongly denied cow vigilantism as the reason. "From day one, we have told the media that it is a pure case of theft and not cow vigilantism," Singh said, adding that all the four arrested — identified as Kameshwar Soren, Kishan Rai, Bhukul Kishku and Munsi Murmu — were sent to judicial custody on Friday.
Two FIRs have been registered in connection with the lynching case.
The first complaint was lodged by one of the arrested persons, Munsi Murmu, under sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The other complaint was filed by Imran Ansari, the father of one of the deceased, Charuku, under the IPC's sections 147 (rioting), 148 (armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 302 (murder), the police said.
Charuku had faced two cases of cattle theft in the neighbouring Dumka district, they said. The other deceased was identified as Murtaza Ansari.
SP Singh said that the victims had a criminal past and had cases of cattle theft registered against them. “It has come to light that Charku Ansari had gone to jail in a property offence. One of Murtaza’s brother was also sent to jail in a dacoity case recently. Further antecedents are being verified,” said Singh in a previous report.