Hundreds of people lynched a man in the western state of Jharkhand who they accused of cutting down a type of tree sacred to a tribe, a police source said, weeks after the regional parliament passed a bill to prevent such violence.
Hundreds lynched a man for cutting down a sacred tree
“Between 300 and 400 people gathered yesterday and started beating the man. When he died, they even tried to burn his body,” Simdega district police superintendent Shams Tabrez, where the incident took place, told EFE.
Once they learned of the assault, the source said that “the officers quickly moved to the scene and extinguished the fire with the help of the fire department” after which they found that the body had “50% burns”.
The man was lynched because he used to cut a particular type of tree to sell its wood, said the officer, which has religious value for the “Munda” community, one of the 32 recognized tribes in the state of Jharkhand.
According to the source, the murdered man had already been charged with illegal logging last October, a crime for which he spent time in jail.
After learning what had happened, the region’s chief minister, Hemant Soren, called on Twitter for the police to “investigate this matter by taking all legal action.”
Indian tribes or “adivasis” (in Sanskrit) constitute only 8.6 percent of India’s 1.35 billion inhabitants, according to the last census of 2011, although in Jharkhand they represent 26.2 percent of the population.
This assault comes two weeks after the Jharkhand state parliament passed a bill to prevent mob violence and lynchings in its territory, including prison sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment.