Muslim Man Lynched in Patna on Suspicion of Cattle Theft; Family Claims It’s Murder

The Phulwari Sharif police have arrested seven accused in the case, all of whom are milkmen running dairy business in Patna.

By Mohd. Imran Khan

Patna: Amid rising crimes in Bihar, yet another case of cattle-related mob lynching has taken place in Patna where a suspected cattle thief was beaten to death in the late hours of Wednesday.

The suspected cattle thief was allegedly caught by an angry mob on FCI road under Phulwari Sharif, located on the outskirts of Patna, and was beaten so much that he fell unconscious and died on the way to hospital.

The victim has been identified as Alamgir Alam, 28, a resident of a slum near Patliputra railway station in Patna. He was originally from a village in Vaishali district and was living with his family in the slum on the side of the railway track to earn a livelihood.

A local resident on condition of anonymity told NewsClick that the victim was tied to a wooden pole and thrashed for over four hours till he was half dead. Afterwards, Alam was left on the road under the open sky in the cold weather. “Police reached the spot hours later, but he was about to die due to internal injuries that he sustained during the brutal thrashing earlier,” he said.

The Officer-in-Charge of Phulwari Sharif police station, Safiqur Rahman said that a FIR has been lodged against seven named accused on the basis of the statement of the victim’s mother Noorjahan Khatoon. “Police have arrested all seven accused including Shrikant Rai, Asharfi Rai, Sanchit Rai, Badal Kumar, Sadhu Rai, Roshan Kumar and Kanhai Rai in the case,” Rahman said.

Police officials said that all the arrested accused were residents of a village under Maner police station in Patna. They were involved in road-side dairy business, locally known as ‘khatal’, on FCI road.

According to the police, the deceased victim, Alam, had been sent to jail earlier in a case related to cattle theft, but he was later released on bail.

However, the victim’s poverty-stricken mother, Noorjahan, said her son was working as a labourer to earn a livelihood for the family of six, including his wife and two daughters. “It is difficult to believe that my son was a cattle thief. He was murdered by some milkmen who alleged that he was trying to take away a buffalo from their khatal. It is for police to look into it. We are poor people, he was the only bread earner and we have lost him.”

Meanwhile, a local court on Wednesday imposed a cost of Rs 2,500 each on the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police of Patna for repeatedly failing to produce witnesses for trial in a 2015 mob-lynching case that took place in the very Phulwari Sharif area. In the five-year-old case, the victim was too killed on suspicion of being a cattle thief.

In the last one and half month, nearly a dozen lynching incidents have been reported from across the state. In rural Bihar, incidents of ‘mob justice’ have become common. Moreover, rising cases of lynching have been reported in the state since last year. On July 28 this year, two persons were lynched for allegedly stealing a pair of oxen in a village in Jamui district. In yet another incident in November last year, a Muslim cattle trader was lynched in Katihar district on his way to the cattle market after he allegedly refused to pay extortion money to the attackers. Earlier, in one case in July 2019, three men were beaten to death by a mob over suspicion of cattle theft in a village in Saran district.

Such incidents have become an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who claims to have brought ‘sushasan’ or good governance to Bihar even as crimes continue to spike in the state.

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