One of the Adivasi men injured in the mob violence. Credit: Twitter/Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha
Mithilesh Sahu, an accused in the Gumla lynching case has moved a bail application before the Jharkhand High Court. The matter pertains to a lynching incident that took place in Jairagi village located in Gumla district of Jharkhand on April 10, 2019.
Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi man was killed in the attack while three others; Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj were seriously injured.
A fact-finding team from Jan Sangharsh Samiti had discovered that the owner of a dead ox requested the victims and others of Jurmu village to carve the dead ox. While carving the dead ox, the villagers were attacked by a mob of 35-40 persons from Jairagi village and beaten for hours. The mob that was chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Bajrang Bali” was allegedly led by Sandeep Sahu, Santosh Sahu, Sanjay Sahu and his sons.
Initially, the police not only allegedly ignored the attack but also charged the surviving victims under anti-cow-slaughter laws! This led to large scale protests by Adivasis in the region, including a sit-in in front of the Gumla Deputy Commissioner’s office that drew participation from people from Ranchi and Latehar.
Eventually an FIR was filed against the attackers, namely Sanjay Kumar, Santosh Prasad, Shiv Lal Sahu @ Shiva Sahu, Satyendra Kumar @ Satyendra Sahu under sections 147, 148, 149, 341, 342, 323, 324, 504, 506, 307 and 302 of the IPC. Later they were also charged under sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Though Mithilesh Sahu was named in the FIR, he was made an accused in the case after confession by another accused Sanjay Kumar. Interestingly, Kumar as well as another accused who was not named in the FIR were both previously granted bail on September 11, 2019 and February 5, 2020 respectively. The original four accused named in the FIR have all been granted bail. An Additional Sessions Judge denied bail to Mithilesh Sahu on September 9.
Advocate Shahdab Ansari appearing for the victim said, “We are going to oppose the accused’s bail plea. The matter has been adjourned for now.”