One Shafi Ahmed (20) has been arrested for vandalising the murti of Sri Hanuman at a temple in Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand. The desecration of the temple took place on Feburary 12, following mass protests by Hindus at different parts of Jharkhand over the brutal mob lynching of minor Rupesh Pandey (17) on February 6 during a Saraswati Puja immersion procession.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Manoj Ratan Chothe said that the accused had confessed before police that he committed the crime as he was ‘provoked’ by alleged burning of religious flags at a mosque. Ahmed has been sent to judicial custody. The SP said the desecration had led to protests in violation of prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of CrPC in Barhi Sub Division.
17-year-old Rupesh was killed when Hindu devotees were attacked as their procession was peacefully passing through an area called Lakhna Dulmaha Imambada (Muslim religious gathering place) in Nai Taand village, Barhi police station area, Hazaribagh district.
SP Chothe contradicts case details lodged by his own police force?
SP Chothe said Rupesh’s post-mortem report revealed that he was hit hard on the head and had injuries on his neck, stomach and spleen. He, however, said the killing was due to ‘personal enmity’. In fact, initial media reports after Rupesh’s murder also quote SP Chothe as saying that Rupesh was murdered due to a ‘college fight’, ‘it was not a case of lynching’ and there was ‘no communal angle’. At the time, the SP had said there were just 4 accused.
However, the case registered in the Barhi police station names 27 known and 100 unknown as accused. Mohammad Aslam, Mohammad Anis, Mohammad Kaif, Mohammad Gufran, Mohammad Chand, Mohammad Osama, Mohammad Ehtam, and Mohammad Nahid have been named as the main accused in the case.
A mob of over 100 men attacked and killed a minor, and the SP is still sticking to ‘personal enmity with no communal angle’ line? Is this being done under pressure of the ‘ultra-secular’ Hemant Soren government, political observers are wondering.
BJP state president and Rajya Sabha MP Deepak Prakash alleged that the Jharkhand government believes in the politics of appeasement, even in cases of lynching. BJP’s state unit on Thursday staged protests at several places against the killing of the teenager, demanding capital punishment for the culprits.
A five-member state government delegation had met the boy’s parents earlier this week and promised financial assistance and job to a family member. It will also soon submit a report to the chief minister.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has issued notices to the Jharkhand government and the Hazaribagh district administration, seeking details of the incident leading to the death of the minor boy.