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Madhya Pradesh: The truth about the mob lynching of Adivasis in Seoni, read the ground report

On suspicion of cow smuggling, three Adivasi men in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, were brutally beaten and then handed over to the police. Two of the lynched Adivasis died the next day. The wife of the accused in the case told The Mooknayak that her husband was an active Bajrang Dal worker. Read the ground report of The Mooknayak.

Madhya Pradesh— In the Seoni district, two Adivasi men were killed by mob lynching on suspicion of smuggling beef. One more Adivasi man was left half-dead by the mob after being brutally beaten.

What was the whole matter?

Late in the night on May 2, in the village of Simaria, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Seoni Kurai police station, around 15 people surrounded Dhansay and Sampat Vatti. Both were brutally beaten with sticks by the mob on suspicion of smuggling beef. Another person from the same village, Brijesh Batti, was also beaten up after being dragged out of his house in the night. When the police reached the spot, the Bajrang Dal workers handed over the three Adivasi men to them. But Sampat Vatti and Dhansay died in the early hours of the next morning.

Reema, wife of BrijeshBatti, one of the victims of the mob lynching, at their house, photo – Ankit Pachauri, The Mooknayak
Reema, wife of BrijeshBatti, one of the victims of the mob lynching, at their house, photo – Ankit Pachauri, The Mooknayak

While talking to The Mooknayak, Reema, wife of Brijesh Batti, one of the victims said that they had been married only a month back. Reema explained that the incident happened late on the night of Monday, May 2. Between 1 and 2 o’clock, some members of the Bajrang Dal forcibly entered their house. When Brijesh tried to stop them, they dragged him across the ground to the outside.

“When I asked them why are you beating him, they told me not to interfere, otherwise they would not leave me alone either,” Reema said. “The people who beat my husband accused him of killing a cow and smuggling the meat. But my husband Brijesh doesn’t do any such work, he only does agricultural and other daily labor work.”

Another neighbor of deceased AdivasiDhansay in Seoni’sSemaria village. Photo – Ankit Pachauri, The Mooknayak
Another neighbor of deceased AdivasiDhansay in Seoni’sSemaria village. Photo – Ankit Pachauri, The Mooknayak

Adivasi community fearful after the incident

The Mooknayak team visited Semaria village in the Seoni district, where there was a palpable fear among the Adivasis. Kanya, daughter of the deceased Dhansay, said, “My father did some farming and agricultural work. During the times when there was no agricultural work, he used to go to Nagpur to work as a laborer. Despite our penurious circumstances and financial hardships, he brought up both my brothers and myself and also arranged their marriages.”

“My father might have been a poor laborer, but the allegations that some people are making against him of cow smuggling are false. He had faith and believed in God and the Devis and Devtas,” Kanya further told us.“We will seek and ensure justice for my father’s murder at any cost.”

Houses of the families of the victims of the mob lynching at Seoni’sSimaria village. Photo – Ankit Pachauri,The Mooknayak
Houses of the families of the victims of the mob lynching at Seoni’sSimaria village. Photo – Ankit Pachauri,The Mooknayak

The mob that hunted down the Adivasis

The police have arrested nine people accused in the Seoni lynching. However, this action was only taken after a group of enraged Adivasi villagers blocked the Jabalpur-Nagpur national highway on Tuesday. The enraged villagers raised slogans against the administration, following which the administration then registered a case against the nine people under sections pertaining to murder as well as a case of atrocity.

A mob has lynched to death two Adivasi men based on suspicion of beef smuggling / Photo Credit : @HansrajMeena
A mob has lynched to death two Adivasi men based on suspicion of beef smuggling / Photo Credit: @HansrajMeena

Who are these people who lynched the Adivasis?

At a press conference in Seoni, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Faggan Singh Kulaste stated that it is being constantly reiterated in the accounts of the case that the people carrying out the lynching are members of the Bajrang Dal, however, this has not been established.

The opposition in contrast has alleged that the lynchings were carried out by Bajrang Dal workers. The Mooknayak investigated this claim. Statements made by Bindiya Awadhiya, wife of Deepak Awadhiya, who is among those accused of lynching shed light on the matter. Bindiyahas said that her husband Deepak was an active worker of the Bajrang Dal, and had been involved in the work of cow protection for many years.

Bindiya’s statement negates the other claims. She said that, on the night of May 2, Deepak had gone to Simaria along with several other fellow Bajrang Dal members. She also said that her husband had not committed the murders.

According to Bindiya, on the night of the incident, her husband and his co-workers had handed over those accused of cow-smuggling to the police. She claimed that the police were also with the Bajrang Dal workers that night, and Dhansay, Sampat, and Brijesh were unharmed when they had been handed over to the police. Then in the morning two of them died.

“Both the Adivasis died in police custody, and the police are responsible for these murders,” Bindiya said, accusing the police. Notwithstanding, Deepak Awadhiya has been jailed in the case. When the Mooknayakapproached the police personnel in charge of the Badalpar outpost of Kurai police station, he declined to comment, saying that in regard to this matter we should talk to his more senior officials.

[Story Translated By Lotika Singha]

यहां हिन्दी में भी पढ़ें- मध्यप्रदेश: आदिवासियों की मॉब लिंचिंग का क्या है पूरा सच? सिवनी से ग्राउंड रिपोर्ट

Ankit Pachauri
Ankit Pachauri
Journalist, The Mooknayak

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