March 27, 2016

JHARKHAND: Horrific Lynching Case in Balumath

The following is the text of the memorandum submitted to the Jharkhand chief minister Raghuwar Das on March 22, 2017 by Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former MP, GK Bakshi, CPI(M) Central Committee member and Jharkhand state secretary, Prakash Viplavi, Sanjay Paswan, Praful Linda, Suphal Mahto, CPI(M) state secretariat members.

THIS is to draw your attention to and request your intervention to bring justice in the case of  Majlum Ansari (32 years old ) and Imtiaz Khan (12 years old)  who were brutally beaten and hanged to death on March 18 in Balumath, Latehar. I, along with a team of my colleagues of the Jharkhand state leadership of the CPI(M) had met the families of the victims in their respective villages, Nawadah and Arahara on March 21. We had also met people in the village, including the elected panchayat representatives and others in the area.

1. The police and administration are deliberately running a misleading campaign that the murder was a case of robbery by cattle thieves and that there was a personal motive which was the basis for the murder. However according to the family members and the people in the village this is totally untrue. There was absolutely no personal dispute. The fact is that Majlum was threatened by a group of cow protection vigilantes that he should give up the cattle trade or he would face the consequences. The angle of personal dispute being propagated by the administration is to protect and defend these groups of so- called “cow protectors" who are targeting minority communities on the issue.

2. The shameful role of the local police was exposed by the communally biased comments of the Chandwa PS in charge against the family members of Majlum.

3. The nature of the crime of a hanging is also associated with the work of lynch mobs who use this as a horrendous symbol to send a wider message to the community being targeted that they should fall in line or they will meet the same fate.

4. Even after three days the main accused has not been arrested, it is said that he has important connections linked to his work in the so-called cow protection racket.

5. In both villages where there are tribal sarpanches there has never been a single case of communal tension. However, in the surrounding areas, groups functioning in the name of different organisations affiliated to the Hindutva ideology have been extremely active in spreading communal poison. In the last two years, camps have been organised in the area by various outfits in the name of cow protection which are designed to target Muslims involved in the legal cattle trade. In many villages provocative slogans have been written on the walls calling for hanging of those called “cow murderers." For several months after a Muslim boy from Murpa village and a Hindu girl eloped, the Hindutva groups imposed a social boycott on the Muslim community in the village and neighbouring areas.

5. Instead of sending a strong message it is extremely unfortunate that you as chief minister are reported to have linked the horrific crime to “cow smuggling." This is a total falsehood. But even if it were true, does it justify lynching including lynching a 12 year old child? Such comments encourage such criminal communal elements and their activities.

6. No one from the government or administration have visited the family leave alone ensure them justice including compensation.

It is for these reasons that I thought it imperative to request your intervention to:

(1) Refer the case to a central agency since there can be no confidence in the present investigation. Take action against the police officials who used communally driven hate speech after the killings. 

(2) To ensure that no statements are made which defend the crime.

(3) Government employment should be provided to Saira Bibi, the wife of Majlum Ansari who now has to take sole responsibility to bring up her five small children and to any one of the parents Azad Khan or Najma Bibi, of Imtiaz Khan and full compensation to both families

(4) Strict action to prevent the communal activities of the so-called cow protection committees.

We request you again to kindly take appropriate measures.