‘Bacha chor’ rumours: Muslim villagers clash with police in Jharkhand

RANCHI: On Saturday, Muslim protesters clashed with police in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur region, protesting the killing of the innocent Muslims for being suspected child lifters or ‘bacha chor.

Police had to resort to lathi-charge and even used tear gas in some places.

Gram Panchayat Pradhan of Haldipokhor, Syed Zabiullah, said, “We gave pictures and videos of those involved in the killings to the police. They are known faces and we have identified some. But we do not know why they have not been arrested. This incident will create a divide in the society,”

Adding, “Had police listened to us and taken action, this would not have happened. I kept calling them.”

The unrest has been sparked by the lynching of four Muslim cattle traders in Saraikela-Khushwahan district on Thursday.

The victims Nayeemm (35), Sheikh Sajju (25), Sheikh Siraj (26) and Sheikh Halim (28) have been beaten to death by frenzied mobs for being suspected child-lifter in the tribal-dominated area of Rajnagar.

Rumours of ‘bacha chor’ or child lifters has claimed several lives in the state over the past fortnight, with maximum number of deaths being reported from Jamshedpur region followed by Bokaro and Dhanbad districts.

On Thursday, separate incidents in Raj Nagar village of Seraikela-Kharsawa district and Bagbera Police Station area of the East Singhbhum districts claimed the lives of seven persons suspected of being child lifters.

In the last two months, irate village mobs have attacked men on the suspicion of being child lifters in which several persons lost their lives while many others sustained serious injuries.

In April, Shamsuddin Ansari was badly beaten by villagers in Chandrapur of Bokaro district after he was suspected of being a child lifter. He later died due to his injuries.

Reports from several other districts in the state also claim that incidents related to child lifting was on an increase.

Unfortunately, the police has remained a mere spectator and has refrained to take against the large crowd of the villagers in all these incidents. Upon intervention in many occasions, they have also faced the anger of the villagers as many policemen have sustained injuries and their vehicles have also been set on fire.

Jharkhand police has appealed to the people to not pay heed to any such rumours.

“No child has been lifted in Jharkhand. These are rumours. Stern action will be taken against those found spreading such rumours,” said Additional Director General of Police R.K. Mallik.

With IANS inputs