The victim, Sanju Pradhan, was thrashed and set on fire by a mob in Besrabazar village under Kolebira police station in Simdega district on Tuesday. (Picture for representation)

A day after a man was lynched in a village in Jharkhand’s Simdega district, his wife on Wednesday alleged he was killed by the mob in the presence of police who did nothing to save him despite her repeated pleas.

Sanju Pradhan, in his 30s, was thrashed and set on fire by a mob in Besrabazar village under Kolebira police station in Simdega district on Tuesday. He was allegedly involved in illegal felling of trees and trading in stolen wood. As per police records, Pradhan had three cases against him for his alleged links with Maoists.

“The police had reached the spot even before the mob had started beating him. I kept pleading before them to protect my husband, but they did nothing to save him,” Pradhan’s wife Sapna told reporters.

Sapna said a 500-strong mob was present at the spot, but only four people had come to their home to take her husband away. “I don’t know the name of those four persons, but I can identify them if I see them,” she said.

Simdega superintendent of police Shams Tabrez said a case has been registered with Kolebira police station on the complaint of the victim’s family members. “In all, 13 people have been made named accused and around two dozens as unnamed accused. We have identified those involved in the crime. Raids are on to apprehend them,” said Tabrez.

The SP said the accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Incidentally, the Jharkhand assembly, in its winter session in December last year, had passed a special law against lynching incidents. The law, though, is yet to be identified.

On Sapna’s allegations of the lynching incident occurring in presence of the police, Tabrez said deputy commissioner Kumar Saurav has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the entire incident. “If any lapse is found on part of the police in the SIT report, we will take appropriate action,” the officer said.

Both Tabrez and Saurav visited the village and met the victim’s family on Wednesday.

Sources in the district police, however, said a police patrol had reached the village soon after getting information that a mob had assembled there. “But they were only five policemen who found themselves helpless against a 500-strong mob. They informed the district headquarters and teams from at least four police stations reached the spot. But, it was too late,” an officer said.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP alleged a conspiracy behind the killing and said Pradhan was an active booth-level party worker. “On December 28, a meeting was held in the village, which was also attended by elected representatives belonging to the ruling party,” said Laxman Baarik, president of BJP’s Simdega unit.

Baraik, however, refused to name the elected representatives who participated in the meeting, saying they would come up with facts at an opportune time.

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