Early Saturday, an Islamist mob brutally lynched Rajesh Manjhi in Malappuram, Kerala. Rajesh was a 36-year-old Dalit migrant laborer from Bihar’s East Champaran district. The gruesome incident happened at Kizhisseri near Kondotty town in Kerala’s Muslim-majority district of Malappuram. The shocking incident occurred near his house, 300 meters from the poultry farm where Rajesh worked.
Kondotty Sub-Inspector (SI) Faatil Rehman informed CNN-News18 that they arrested nine, including Mohd Afsal, Fasil, Sharafuddin, Mehboob, Abdu Samad, Nasar, Habeeb, Ayoob, and Zainul Abid, all hailing from Kizhisseri. A vicious media campaign has begun claiming that the Islamists who lynched Rajesh were ‘enthusiastic’ about capturing a thief, which led to the murder.
At approximately midnight on Saturday, scores of people savagely beat Rajesh. He was brutally abused for about two hours with pipes and sticks before being dumped outside a store around 2:30 in the morning.
Kizhisseri is a known hotbed of radical Islamists with terror leanings. Under the direction of Kondotty Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) V Vijaya Bharath Reddy, a special investigation team (SIT) was established to investigate the matter. Police claimed they were investigating every angle and reviewing different CCTV footage from the neighborhood.
The ASP informed that the mob lynchers claimed that Rajesh fell from a house’s first floor after making an unsuccessful theft attempt. After the migrant Hindu worker fell from the structure (the home), the Muslim mob captured him and attacked him for several hours. The accused told the police they saw the deceased Rajesh in front of the house of one of the accused, Mohd Afzal.
Later, it was confirmed that Rajesh had traveled to Malappuram to work at a poultry farm in Kizhisseri a few days prior. The vulnerable Hindu had traveled from Bihar not to indulge in theft but to try and earn a decent living. His cries proclaiming innocence (even as he was dying) fell on deaf ears.
Before the attack, the assailants called two migrant workers who lived nearby and asked if they knew Rajesh. But the accused are denying all this now. Does this show that the lynching was pre-planned? The statements of other migrant workers at the scene have been recorded.
Incidentally, those who led the Muslim mob lynching violence were local butchers. They attacked Rajesh first, tied his hands behind his back, and invited several others to partake in the violence. Was the Halal mafia sending a signal to all non-Muslim migrants planning to work in the food industry?
The lynchers assured that Rajesh was dead before informing authorities. Rajesh, who had lost consciousness by then, was taken to a nearby market where his assaulters dumped his body. An hour after the brutal assault, around 3.30 am, they called up a local councilor. The councilor then told a police officer who lives nearby about the mob lynching incident.
A police patrol vehicle took the critically injured Hindu worker to the local private hospital, where he was declared dead. His hands were still tied to his back when police found Rajesh. The body was shifted to Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, where the postmortem was done. The family of the deceased migrant worker has been informed about his death.
According to the police, it is a case of murder. The postmortem report revealed merciless beating by the men with blunt objects like wooden sticks and plastic pipes. Manjhi died of multiple internal injuries with broken ribs in the attack. The nine arrested were charged with murder, wrongful confinement, and tampering with evidence.
Rajesh was beaten several times on the chest and stomach. He had severe injuries to multiple internal organs. The police also said that they had got clear evidence of these beatings. Proof of the brutal assault was recovered from the accused’s mobile phones. Some videos and images were deleted, and police claimed they would be recovered.
Some mob members hoping to destroy evidence tried to hide Rajesh’s T-shirt. Others tried to tamper with CCTV footage of the area. Police claimed they would retrieve and examine all these images.
Police collected the details of those who worked at night in the meat processing center. They reached their homes and took them and their mobile phone into custody. ASP Vijaya claimed police could arrest the accused by five in the morning.
The images and conversations on mobile phones proved that the Islamist mob lynched Rajesh. After disposing of Rajesh’s lifeless body on the road, the accused returned home. They tried their best to publicize lies that Rajesh attempted theft, fell from the terrace, and died. Police confronted the accused with evidence and arrested them.
Zainul Abid, arrested on Monday, stole the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) from a nearby shop. He tied to destroy evidence and wanted to prevent the police from accessing the CCTV footage. Police arrested Abid, and he took them to where he hid the DVR. He concealed it in a building 50 meters from the crime scene.
It is indicated that the time of the lynching, how each person took part in the beating, etc., are recorded in the footage. Similar videos of the violence were also allegedly obtained from the mobile phones of two suspects arrested on Saturday.
Bihar’s minister of social welfare Madan Sahni while speaking to CNN-News18, said, “It’s a horrific incident. No government wants its people to suffer like this. I appeal to the Kerala government to take the strictest action possible to give justice to the aggrieved family. Some men feel proud to kill innocent and unarmed persons and then hide the facts. Why would anyone get involved in theft if he had gone to another state to earn a living? The state government cannot compensate the family of the departed soul, but we will give them monetary assistance according to the migrant labor law.”
Under pressure from radical Islamists, the local communists and so-called human rights activists have gone silent.
Remember another poor Hindu from Bihar shot dead by Islamic radical group ISIS in kashmir? He was a bhel puri seller named Viranjan Paswan.