Lynched man’s wife: Police were present at spot, none helped

A DAY after a 34-year-old man was lynched and his body set on fire by villagers in Simdega district of Jharkhand, his wife on Wednesday alleged that the killing took place in police presence and that although she begged them to save her husband, no one moved.

The allegations contradict the local police version. On Tuesday, Kolebira Police Station Officer In-charge Rameshwar Bhagat had said that they could reach the spot only after the lynching.

Sanju Pradhan of Chaprideepa village was dragged out of his home Tuesday afternoon by villagers after he skipped a meeting called by them to resolve a tree-felling issue involving him. The villagers accused him of cutting trees at a place which is considered sacred according to tribal customs. Pradhan was taken to nearby Besrajara village, where the meeting had been called, and lynched.

On Wednesday, Pradhan’s wife Sapna Devi told reporters that around 500 people were present at the spot. “Police were there even before the assault [on Pradhan] started. I pleaded, begged them to save my husband. But no one came [forward to help].”

On the tree cutting accusation, she said, “We had bought some trees from a person and we had cut the wood for our home.”

Although the police did not respond to the allegations, senior officials told The Indian Express that the local police did reach the spot early but were “taken aback” by the mob’s anger. “It is not that the police did not want to do anything, but they could not do anything because the mob was completely violent,” said an official.

Simdega Deputy Commissioner Sushant Gaurav said the ongoing inquiry will reveal the truth. “We will get to know the police’s action or inaction, and we will act accordingly,” he said.

No arrest has been made so far.

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