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Jharkhand: Cops Trying to Weaken the Godda Lynching Case?

Tarique Anwar |
The victims’ families are allegedly being frightened and harassed.
Godda Lynching

Raising serious questions on the free and fair probe into the lynching case at Godda district in Jharkhand, where two men were beaten to death on June 13 on suspicion of stealing cattle, the victims’ families have alleged that the cops are “frightening”, “harassing” and “doing as much as they can do” to hinder their fight for justice. Both victims were residents of Taljhari in the district – about 200 km from the state capital Ranchi.

After getting the information at around 6 am that ChiraguddinAnsari (45) and Murtaza Ansari (35) were being beaten in the nearby Bankatti village by the residents of tribal-dominated Dullu village, Imran Ansari and Gafur went to Deodar police station, and reportedly told the officers present about the incident. They – as have been claimed – requested the officers to rescue the victims. But the police – as alleged – said they do not have fuel for the vehicle. Without wasting time – said the duo – they gave the officers Rs 2,000.

They then proceeded towards the spot where Chiraguddinand Murtaza were being brutally assaulted and kept waiting at a distance thinking that the police would come for the rescue. But to their utter shock, the cops did not reach the spot for hours, and the victims were beaten to death.

“We got to know about the incident after the mukhiya(village head) of Dullu village rang us and informed us. We rushed to the spot. After seeing me there, my badly injured father asked for water. When we moved forward, the attackers shouted at us and tried to catch us, saying that we are also thieves. We managed to escape to save our lives, and reached the police station at around 8 am to request the cops to intervene and rescue the victims,” Chiraguddin’s son Imran told Newsclick.

He further alleged, “They (the cops) told us that their official vehicle is running short of fuel. Without wasting time, we gave them Rs 2,000, and they assured us that they are reaching the spot in some time. We left for the spot and kept waiting at a distance for the cops to arrive, but they did reach the spot for two-three hours.”

The mob kept thrashing the two who were dying a slow death. The police reached the crime scene at around 11 am, but the victims were already dead by then, alleged the two eye-witnesses. 

“We were handed over the body at around 3 pm after postmortem,” he added.

Their lawyer alleged that the police has weakened the case with an aim to shield the real culprits. 

“This was a heinous crime in which two people died. The case filed by the police is not as strong as it should be. The police cleverly gave the incident an angle of buffalo theft. The FIR said that four-five people caught the two and began beating them up over the rumours that they were stealing buffaloes. The police did not record their complaint as per the duo’s statements. Since the informant is illiterate and was in trauma, he signed the documents as asked, without going through the contents,” alleged Advocate Inam Khan. 

He added, “Those who have been named in the FIR are not known to the complainants. The police named the accused on the basis of the videos and photos obtained. The main perpetrators have not even been named in the FIR. It has been done as per a well thought plan that the case falls in the court of law.”

He asked as to why the village head – who informed the family – did not call the police when the crime was taking place in his area. “It means the he was also hand in gloves. Why has he not been questioned so far to ascertain the identity of the attackers?” he asked.

The Jharkhand police rubbished this allegation, and said it is doing fair investigation and the culprits won’t be allowed to go scot free.

“These are mere allegations. When the matter will go to the court for trial and convictions will take place, it will clear the air,” said RK Mallick, additional director general and spokesperson of the Jharkhand police.

When asked about the allegation regarding bribes, he said, “Our officers visited the victims’ houses thrice, including on the festival occasion of Eid, but no such complaint was received. They are levelling such allegations now. They might be giving such statements on the instance of others,” he added.

Meanwhile, the bail petitions of all the four accused – Munshi Murmu, Kaleshwar Soren, Johan Kisku and Kishan Rai – have recently been rejected by the District and Session Judge, Godda. 

Victims’ house raided, family members assaulted

“Another barbaric and illegal act was committed against us on July 19 when the police raided my house at around 11 pm and misbehaved and beat up my family members – including ladies. They ran away when my family members and fellow villagers protested,” alleged Imran.

Police officials could not be reached for comments on this particular allegation against them.

BJP MP to cover legal expenses of accused

A BJP lawmaker from Jharkhand has said he will pay for the legal expenses of the four accused. Calling it a “personal decision”, Nishikant Dubey – who is a MP from the Godda constituency –  said he will bear the expenses of the legal battle as he believes the four men were being “unfairly targeted” for the mob lynching.

He asked why these four people are being singled out when the entire village was involved in the beating.

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