Mobs are increasingly delivering "instant justice" in Jharkhand -- and getting away with murder.
Over the last two months or so, a series of incidents of mob lynching have taken place in the state over different issues, including child abduction and carrying "banned meat", a local euphemism for beef.
Mobs catching hold of a person or persons, thrashing them brutally and escaping without getting arrested -- such incidents are becoming a trend in Jharkhand.
The latest incident took place on June 29 when a person allegedly transporting beef in Ramgarh district was brutally beaten. He later succumbed to his injuries.
According to police, Alimuddin alias Asgar Ansari was held by a mob near Bajartand village, thrashed and his van was set on fire. Police took him to a hospital where he died.
On June 27, in Giridih district, a person was brutally beaten and his house was set on fire after allegedly a cow head was found in the vicinity.
In another incident the same day, a man was thrashed by people as he was alleged to have raped his daughter and set her on fire.
On June 8, a girl killed one Panchu Gope, accusing him of molestation.
A day earlier, a contractor was beaten to death on charges of raping a widow in Gurha village of Palamu district.
On May 18, four people were beaten to death for allegedly abducting a child in Rajnagar in Seraikela-Kharsawan district. The mob torched their houses and vehicles and looted their belongings.
All the four were Muslims.
The same night, three people were beaten to death and an elderly woman was injured in Nagadih village in East Singbhum district. They had gone to purchase a land and they were also beaten on charges of child abduction. The woman also died later. On May 10, a mob killed mentally challenged Rifil Tudu on charges of abducting a child. Experts say people in Jharkhand are taking law in their own hands due to several reasons.
"Besides, the lynching cases are also taking place because people have no fear of getting punished. Arrests are fine but conviction is more important. Respect for the rule of law comes in mind when convictions are done fast," R K Mallik, Additional Director General of Police and Jharkhand Police spokesperson disclosed.
In some cases, they take advantage of the situation to eliminate opponents, as happened in the case of the Ramgarh incident where rival beef traders are being blamed for the killing.
In other cases, people resort to instant justice since they seem to have no faith left in the police.
A two-member committee reportedly blamed failure on the part of district administration in handling the Seraikela-Kharsawan child abduction case, which led to the killing of four people on May 18.
Based on the report, the Jharkhand government suspended the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of the district.
A senior police official cited people's fears of wrong-doers going scot-free and the long-winding complex justice delivery system as the reasons for rising cases of people becoming law breakers.