Mob Lynches Man in India's Jharkhand, Sets His Body Alight Over Felling of a Revered Tree

© AP Photo / Altaf QadriIndian protesters shout slogans as they hold placards and candles during a protest condemning recent mob lynching of Muslim youth Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand state, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the helm of the Indian government, Hindu mobs have lynched dozens of people, mainly Muslims and lower-caste Dalits.
Indian protesters shout slogans as they hold placards and candles during a protest condemning recent mob lynching of Muslim youth Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand state, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the helm of the Indian government, Hindu mobs have lynched dozens of people, mainly Muslims and lower-caste Dalits. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2022
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Religious vigilantism has been a subject of public discussion in India in recent years, especially after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led federal government came to power in 2014. The subject gained much traction after a series of lynchings in subsequent years over allegedly possessing beef or killing of cows, considered sacred in Hinduism.
A man was allegedly lynched by a mob of about 100 to 150 people in the Indian state of Jharkhand and his body was set on fire for cutting a tree associated with religious worship on Tuesday.

The incident happened in the Simdega district of the eastern Indian state.
The 34-year-old victim was later identified as Sanju Pradhan, a resident of the village of Chaprideepa from the same district.

According to the police, the man was killed after he failed to join a meeting called by a group of fellow villagers to discuss the cutting of the sacred tree.
After he skipped the meeting, a crowd gathered outside his home and dragged him out. He was taken to a market and lynched.
Generally such meetings in Indian villages are called to give the accused an opportunity to explain his or her stand. But if the village committee, called a "Panchayat" in local parlance, doesn't find the explanation worthy, the accused is penalised.

Police said the tree has religious importance for the Munda Community and "they are very sentimental about it".
"The deceased had cut these trees in October 2021. This had hurt the public sentiment. Today a large number of people held a meeting and decided to beat him, which led to the victim's death", Jharkhand Police said.
Family members of the victim told police that he was beaten to death by the violent mob and later his body was set ablaze.
While no arrests have been made in the case so far, Simdega's top police officer, Shams Tabrez, has promised action against the culprits.
"The body has been sent for a post-mortem. Him dying of beating or due to fire will be ascertained after autopsy. A First Information Report (F.I.R.) is being registered with appropriate sections. Identification of the accused is going on", Simdega Superintendent of Police Tabrez told the Indian media on Wednesday.
Simdega's Deputy Commissioner Sushant Gaurav, however, called the incident "unfortunate" before vowing to catch the culprits as soon as possible.
"We are trying to ascertain the exact sequence of events that led to the killing. The administration and police are working to bring the culprits to justice", Sushant Gaurav concluded.
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