Last month, around 9 people were killed by local villagers in different areas of Jharkhand as tribal mobs suspected them of being child lifters engaged in human trafficking.
However, one of these incidents of lynching was wrongly claimed as lynching due to ‘cow slaughter and beef’ and was given a communal colour, even though more Hindus than Muslims had died in these incidents.
Not just miscreants, even the mainstream media played its part in giving the unfortunate incident a communal spin and vitiated the atmosphere. This was used to incite communal passions, which saw violent demonstration by Muslims in Jamshedpur on 20 May to protest against the assumed targeted killings of Muslims.
The protests – based on twisting of facts related to the case that did not have a communal angle – turned into a pitched battle between a Muslim mob and Jharkhand Police, leading to arson and stone pelting that caused widespread damage to property and injuries to policemen.
Once the situation was brought under control, police arrested dozens of miscreants and rioters, and subsequent investigations suggested that the protests were well organised and not spontaneous reaction to the wrong news of beef related lynching.
Police has named local Congress leader Feroze Khan as one of the main conspirators who organised the mob and led them to attack the police. Apart from being a Congress leader, Firoze Khan is also a founding member of an organisation called “Muslim Ekta Manch” which is an organisation of local Muslim leaders cutting across party lines.
Other leaders of this organisation have also been named as accused by the police, which includes leaders from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Bharitya Janta Party (BJP). Most of these leaders are reportedly ‘absconding’ ever since police has filed the case. While on the run, the leaders have reportedly dissolved the “Muslim Ekta Manch”.
They are also trying to get bail for themselves from courts, and latest reports suggest that a district court has rejected the bail application of Feroze Khan and his associates. Court has also rejected bail applications of others already arrested by the police for being part of the mob that took part in riots.