At least 25 policemen risked their lives and rescued three youths from being lynched by an irate mob of nearly 500 villagers in East Singhbhum’s Ghatshila block, around 165 Kilometres south east of Capital Ranchi, police said on Monday.
In course of the rescue operation, three SAF jawans were held captive by the villagers and allegedly thrashed for trying to rescue the youths. At around 5pm on Sunday, the police received information that some residents of Burakanti village had tied three youths to a tree on charges of teasing a woman and were thrashing them since afternoon. Initially, a team of seven to eight policemen were sent to the spot, but reinforcements had to be sent to the village after the mob turned hostile, said East Singhbhum’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Anup Birtharey.
“I think our men have done a great of job of averting an incident of mob lynching. At least seven police personnel have sustained injuries during the operation and are being treated at Tata Main Hospital,” Birtharey said.
Police have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against some of the villagers for instigating the mob to lynch the youths and attack police personnel who came to their rescue. Police sources said that the three youths, who had allegedly teased a woman of Burakanti village while she was out with her husband, are also undergoing treatment. “They are out of danger. A manhunt is on to arrest the main culprits who instigated the villagers to turn hostile,” Birtharey said.
The incident assumes significance as Jharkhand has found itself in the crosshairs of human rights activists and politicians for the rise in the number of mob lynching cases lately. At least 39 cases of mob lynching, including a few in which villagers had beaten men accused of rape to death, are currently under investigation in the State.
Last week, police in Chatra rescued a 40-year-old man from the clutches of irate villagers. The man, accused of raping a 14-year-old, was being thrashed by villagers when the police arrested him.
Since Tabrez Ansari’s lynching in Saraikela on June 17, the State has witnessed at least five cases of mob lynching. On July 21, at least four elderly members of the tribal community, including a couple, were dragged out of their houses and beaten to death by an enraged mob on charges of practicing witchcraft in the interiors of Gumla district. On August 1, a 40-year-old man was beaten to death by villagers in Dumka’s Chihutiya village on charges of theft.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das recently asserted that those involved in mob lynching incidents will not be spared and the Government will take strict actions against such offenders. According to figures with the State police, at least 51 people have been convicted in four cases of mob lynching here so far.