MP: Tribal Outfits Demand Bajrang Dal Ban After 2 Lynched for Alleged Cow Slaughter
Bhopal: Almost 30 hours after the two tribals were beaten to death by about two dozen alleged Bajrang Dal and Right-wing outfit Ram Sena men over suspicion of cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh's Seoni district on May 2, the police arrested 14 people.
According to police, a group of men allegedly associated with Right-wing outfit Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena went to the Simariya and Sagar village located 60-km away from the district headquarter on the intervening night of April 2-3 and assaulted three men for alleged slaughter of a cow in Simaria village under Kurai police station limits. Two adivasis succumbed to injuries the following day.
According to an FIR (first information report) registered following a complaint by a survivor Brajesh Batti, a group of 15-20 people allegedly hit Sampatlal Batti, a resident of Sagar village, and Simaria resident Dhansay Inwati, with sticks accusing them of cow slaughter between 2.30 a.m and 3 a.m on Tuesday. Both died around 6 a.m on Tuesday during hospital treatment.
Police lodged an FIR against six persons who were named and 12 unidentified men soon after the incident and invoked Sections of murder, rioting and other relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including the SC/ST Atrocities Act 1989 and have arrested 14 people so far.
"We have arrested 14 people so far and are looking for two-three other accused," Kumar Prateek, Suprintendent of Police, Seoni, told NewsClick. "We have also recovered over 10 kg of meat and sent for forensic analysis," he added.
Seoni SP Kumar Prateek said that only one out of six accused has been arrested. There are allegations that they are associated to Bajrang Dal.
SP also claimed to have recovered 10KG beef from the deceased.
— काश/if Kakvi (@KashifKakvi) May 3, 2022
After the incident, a group led by Arjun Singh Kakodia, sitting Congress MLA of the region, staged a six-hour-long protest on the Jabalpur-Nagpur highway, demanding jobs, financial assistance of Rs 1 crore to each family of the deceased and destruction of properties of the accused.
"We sat on dharna after the district administration and police began trying to brush the matter under the carpet. It's evident that they (the accused) are not only associated with Bajrang Dal but also with the BJP but police are trying to hide it. Besides, we demanded to incorporate the names of the main conspirators and demolition of their properties, as declared by Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan," he told NewsClick over the phone.
Congress tribal MLA from MP Arjun Singh Kakodiya demanded to "ban Bajrang Dal" after two tribals were lynched by the group.
MLA also demanded to bulldozer houses of all the accused.
— काश/if Kakvi (@KashifKakvi) May 3, 2022
Kakodia further said: "The way homes of Muslims and others were demolished in Khargone, Dindori and other districts on the chief minister and home minister's direction, the homes of the accused in the murder of these two tribals should also be razed."
The Congress MLA ended the protest after an assurance from the district administration. "They have assured us of action but it seems unlikely as they belong to the ruling BJP and Bajrang Dal, which is a sister organisation of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)."
Not only the Congress MLA but other tribal outfits, such as Birsa Munda Brigade and Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), also demanded to ban on Bajrang Dal for their “anti-national” activities.
Hours after the Congress MLA began the protest, Union Minister and Tribal leader Faggan Singh Kulaste held a press conference of select media outlets and said it was yet not clear whether the accused belonged to any organisation.
"The dispute started over the meat (of cow) and it would not be correct as of now to say that any organisation is involved in the incident," Kulaste told reporters on Tuesday night in Seoni.
The minister said action would be taken on the basis of an inquiry and nobody, irrespective of their association, would be spared.
Soon after, the district administration released an official communique announcing financial assistance worth Rs 8.25 lakh to each family, as per the laid down provisions of the SC/ST Atrocities Act-1989, and jobs to the family members of the deceased.
Deceased Sampatlal Batti's daughter, Sunita, has been appointed as a daily wager at a tribal girls' hostel in Barelipar village, and Dhansay Inwati's son Jaiprakash has been appointed as a daily wager at a higher secondary school in Vijaypani village, a government release said.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has constituted a committee of three-party legislators -- Omkar Singh, Ashok Marskole and Narayan Patta-- all belonging to the tribal community, to look into the incident. In addition to that, Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Vikas Parishad, led by Congress MLA and former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria, has also written a letter to Governor Mangu Bhai Patel, also a tribal, demanding compensation to the affected families and strict action against accused Bajrang Dal men.
When NewsClick contacted Akhilesh Chounan, Seoni district president of Bajrang Dal, he brushed aside the allegations of their association with the outfit. When questioned about the accused putting up dozens of posters across the district with him, he said: "I haven't seen them. Anyone can put up the posters." Nonetheless, Chouhan is among the two persons whose names tribal outfits are demanding to be incorporated in the FIR for conspiring to murder.
Interestingly, Chouhan's subordinate, Bajrang Dal District convenor Devendra Sen has reportedly admitted that Bajrang Dal men had gone to the village to check a complaint of cow slaughter but denied any assault.
Two of the main accused in Seoni lynching -- Shersingh Rathore and Deepak Awadhiya -- are absconding.
They not only associated to Bajrang Dal but also with BJP, alleged victims.
In first photo, Awadhiya is with Seoni BJP District president Alok Dubey. ++ pic.twitter.com/F588G9meh4
— काश/if Kakvi (@KashifKakvi) May 4, 2022
This is not the first time when the name of Ram Sena and Bajrang Dal has surfaced in cow vigilantism in Seoni. On May 24, 2019, two youths, including a Muslim, were badly thrashed, made to hit an accompanying woman and chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in Seoni on suspicion of carrying beef. The incident, which took place on May 22, came to light shen the main accused from Ram Sena uploaded a video on social media.
The police had then arrested five accused, including the main accused Shubham Baghel, head of the Ram Sena in Seoni. As per a report in The Week magazine, Baghel has earlier been involved in beating up Muslims in the name of cow protection.
In Seoni's neighbouring district, Balaghat, the police caught Manoj Pardhi, general secretary of Balaghat Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, for smuggling bovines to Maharashtra for slaughter and the party (BJP) had sacked him soon after the matter came to light. A similar case of bovine smuggling had also been registered against him a year ago, but no action has been taken against him.
(With PTI inputs)
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