On Sunday, 22 September, in the early hours of the morning, yet another incident of mob lynching took place in Jharkhand. A mob of 12 to 15 men caught hold of three men at Jaltanda Suari village in Khunti district, around 50kms from the state capital of Ranchi, for allegedly selling beef at a riverside market. One of the victims of the attack, a tribal man died on the way to the hospital while the condition of two other men is said to be critical. The deceased has been identified as Kalantus Barla and the injured as Fagu Kachhapand and Phillip Hahoro. All three men are tribal Christians.
“The three villagers, identified as Kalantus Barla, Philip Horo and Faagu Kacchap, are alleged to have been carving an animal prohibited for slaughtering. Other villagers spotted them and started beating them. However, police reached the spot as we got information and rushed them to the hospital. Barla sustained grievous injuries and he died before reaching the hospital. The other two are said to be stable,” said DIG (Chhotanagpur Range) Homkar Amol Venukant.
Speaking to India Today TV, locals from Suari village under Karra PS of Khunti district expressed shock and grief over the death of Kalantus Barla. Villagers claimed that workers from Bajrang Dal were behind the attack.
A fact-finding report published by Director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, Irfan Engineer, who spoke to the media in detail, said the attack was planned as Sauri village was a Christian-dominated village. He said the attackers from various villages came early and knew it was the time of the local Badapahadi festival where meat would be distributed as it was the age-old practice. The riverbed where the lynching took place was in an isolated area without approach roads, he added. “It is evident that this assembly of people could not have been spontaneous,” Engineer added.
Engineer further said that the village was selected with a design. “Christians were targeted with the aim to polarise Adivasi communities into Sarna versus Christian...to weaken the joint Adivasi struggles to protect their gram sabha and land tenancy rights.”