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Jharkhand: Three Victims Of Cow Vigilantism Booked For “Killing” A Dead Ox

On the 11th of April, a vigilante mob armed with rods and sticks attacked a group of Adivasis in the Jhurmo village of Gumla district, Jharkhand. The Adivasis were skinning an ox which had aged to death. The mob attack left four severely injured. The local police rushed the unfortunate victims to the hospital. One of the victims was declared brought dead and three are undergoing treatment. After two days of the incident, on 13th April, the three injured victims have been booked under the state’s Bovine Slaughter act.

What really happened?

Adranish Kujur, who happened to own the 20-yr-old cattle found it lying dead in his field and informed the villagers about the same. Nearly 35 villagers rushed to the field and started skinning the dead ox in hope to earn money by selling the skin. All of a sudden, a violent mob of cow vigilantes, armed with lethal weapons arrived and started attacking the people who were skinning the ox. Most of those skinning the cow managed to flee, but four of them failed to run away and were brutally beaten. People couldn’t help but ignore the wails of those being beaten up and run to save their own lives. “In the evening I got to know that my ox had died. It was very old and has been with me for the last 20 years. I left it in my field and informed the villagers. I was not part of the group that went to carve it up,” said Kunjur to The Indian Express.

As soon as the police from the Dumri police station arrived, they rushed the four victims to a nearby hospital. Three of them got admitted, and one of the injured victims Prakash Lakra was declared ‘brought dead’. It is observed that all four victims were Tribal-Christians. Dr Roshan Khalkho at the Gumla Community Health centre told The Indian Express, “All three had difficulty walking and were writhing in pain. They were beaten up on their arms, shoulder, scapula region and seems that blunt force was used.” Dr Khalkho also accused the police of prodding him to transgress the usual procedure. “When a person is brought dead, we don’t make an entry in the register but send the body directly for postmortem. However, the police put pressure and asked me to make an entry in the register. This can indicate that he died during treatment,” said Dr Khalkho to The Indian Express.

What’s happening now?

After two days of the attack, the police booked the three victims, Peter Phuljans (50), Belasus Tirkey (60) and Janriush Minz (40) under state’s Bovine Slaughter Act. “We have registered a case against the three injured under The Jharkhand Bovine Animal Prohibition of Slaughter Act,” said M L Meena, ADG to The Indian Express. Police have identified seven individuals, Mahendra Sahu, Shiva Sahu, Jeewan Sahu, Sanjay Sahu, Satyendra Sahu, Santosh Sahu and Sandip Sahu from the neighbouring village – Jairagi in the FIR. “Out of the seven, we have arrested Jeewan, and Sanjay Sahu and both of them have criminal antecedents like murder, abduction,” said SP Gumla Anjani Kumar Jha to The Indian Express. Lakra’s wife, Jermine Lakra is flummoxed by what has happened and is in pain of losing her husband. This unfortunate incident fueled by hatred has undoubtedly left a caustic void in her life.

What’s bizarre about this?

Adranish Kujur, the owner of the deceased ox, agrees and validates that the ox died owing to natural causes. In spite of which the police booked the three victims under the Bovine Slaughter Act implying that they slaughtered the ox because Jharkhand only bans the slaughter of cattle and not skinning of dead cattle. The police have shown unprecedented alacrity in levelling charges against the victims recuperating in a hospital and alleging them of slaughtering the ox, while only two of the seven individuals responsible for the attack have been arrested, as of now.

Are we as a nation going easy on hate crimes?  

A mob in Assam manhandled a 68-year-old Muslim man for selling beef and forcefully fed him pork; merciless lynching of a Bengali Muslim migrant labourer who was even set ablaze and the entire act was recorded to be later circulated throughout the nation; this incident of lynching in Jharkhand, they all suggest that it’s high time for an ordinance against ‘Hate Crimes’. In spite of scores of crimes stemming from communal hatred, we are refusing to acknowledge ‘Hate Crimes’ in our country. The nature of these crimes are distinguishable from other crimes and thereby should be dealt with differently. Amnesty International India has recorded 600 hate crimes against the marginalised communities, right since 28 September 2015 when Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in Dadri. The first step towards putting an end to hate crimes is acknowledging them.

Also Read: Prime Accused In Dadri Lynching Case Enjoyed The First Row Of UP CM’s Rally

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