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20 arrested in Jharkhand lynching cases, probe ordered

May 22, 2017 23:51 IST

As many as 20 people have been arrested in connection with last week's lynching of seven persons in Jharkhand.

State Home Secretary S K G Rahate said a probe has been ordered into the two incidents of vigilantism in Rajnagar in Seraikela-Kharswan district and Nagadih in Jamshedpur that claimed four and three lives respectively.

The lynching was allegedly sparked by suspicions that the victims were child lifters.

18 persons were arrested on Monday in connection with the lynching incident at Nagadih on May 18, and the subsequent violence on May 20.

The other two were held Sunday in connection with the lynching of four persons of a community in Seraikela-Kharswan.

Rahate told mediapersons in Ranchi that social media sites are being monitored and a WhatsApp group admin has been questioned.

The report of the probe, to be conducted by the Kolhan division commissioner and DIG, would be submitted within a month, he said, adding that an FIR has also been lodged.

He said the incidents were triggered purely by rumours and villagers, in an act of vigilantism, took the law into their lands.

A Jamshedpur report quoting an official release said the Kolhan DIG Prabhat Kumar has been asked by the home department to suspend the officers-in-charge of Rajnagar police station and Bagbera police station with immediate effect.

On May 20, protests at Mango area in Jamshedpur against the Rajnagar incident turned violent and prompted the police to open fire in the air and hurl tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

Raids were on to apprehend the other culprits involved in the two incidents, Kumar said, adding that security forces, including a company of RAF have been deployed in the two areas.

The Deputy Commissioner of East Singhbhum district Amit Kumar has sought the cooperation of the people to share information about the miscreants, including their photos on social media and promised to protect the identity of those providing it.

He also directed the sub-divisional officers of Dhalbhum and Ghatsila, block development officers, deputy superintendents of police and panchayats to organise gram sabhas over the next one week from Tuesday to alert the people against social media rumours.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the case and issued a notice to the Director General of Police of Jharkhand, calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

The Commission also expects comments on the preventive measures taken/proposed to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, carried on the May 21, 2017, are unpleasant.

With inputs from M I Khan in Patna

IMAGE: A charred vehicle that was torched by angry people during a violent protest over child-lifting incidents in Chaibasa, Jharkhand. Photograph: PTI Photo

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