Alok K N Mishra,
RANCHI: All the five persons who were lynched by an irate mob in Khunti last Saturday were warned of consequences by villagers if they did not stop harassing women and illegal stone mining, said the accused in the case.
The three tribal villagers of Manho – Gobai Munda, 60, Budhua Munda, 65 and Johan Sanga, 20 – who were arrested on Friday in connection with the case, said the five youths had been warned at a village meeting that if they did not change their ways, they had to pay for it with their lives.
“We had held a meeting and informed Suraj Mahto (one of the deceased) that they would have to face severe retaliation if they do not stop playing tormentors in the village,” sub-inspector Chandrabhan Ram, the investigating officer in the case, quoted Gobai Munda as saying.
Fifteen arrests have been made so far in the case and all the accused have confessed to killing the five youths.
“The recently arrested persons have told us that they had already warned the deceased of death if they did not mend their ways.” A total of 15 persons have been arrested in this connection so far.
A group of villagers had stoned and caned to death five persons, who used to harass women of Manho village, on December 22. One of the deceased had been to jail in a rape case earlier.
A tribal-dominated district, Khunti has seen such mob violence in the past as well.
Suraj Mahto, Jitendra Prasad alias Pappu Prasad (19), Mahendra Prasad (40), Prem Prasad (22), and Ram Nayak (17) were killed by the irate mob on December 22.
Suraj Prasad had a criminal background and was wanted in several cases. Another deceased Jitendra alias Pappu Prasad had allegedly raped a minor while she was on her way to school last year. Surprisingly the deceased and those accused of killing them hail from the same village.
Tension still prevails in Manho village. The kin of the deceased have threatened the entire Munda and Sanga communities in the village with dire consequences. Khunti SP M Tamil Vanam said “adequate” number of armed policemen were deployed to the village to ensure peace. The armed policemen also patrol the village to ensure safety, said officer in charge Khunti police station Taleshwar Ram.