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June 09, 2013

’Witch–hunting’ that took away the life of a man

SILCHAR, June 8: Notwithstanding all the talks of civilization and with that modernism on march with the spread of education and knowledge, more precisely literacy, there are still areas of darkness. Witch–hunting, wizardly and weird thoughts and ideas overshadowed by superstition continue to stalk. Often, incidents of human sacrifice to propitiate or please some unknown and hidden deity are reported in the media. There is neither logic nor wisdom behind it. Yet it happens.
The gruesome murder of a 55–year–old man identified as Jahar Lal Mura by his own villagers of Kalabil under Narainpur gaon panchayat of Banskandi police station of Cachar, 25 km from here, and close to the power project of DLF and Dewan Group of Tea Estate and also not far from Silchar–Imphal Highway 37 has come as a shock and dismay to the people of Barak Valley in general. The motive, as usual behind the killing, has been attributed to blind faith to sacrifice the man for the overall welfare and well being of the village and its inhabitants. It is no more a mystery why Jahar Lal Mura, the unfortunate victim, should be the target.
Though he was buried in an isolated place, nothing could keep it secret being a community affair. The information did reach the police and it immediately swung into action. It was in the evening of Thursday that the police of Banskandi and Lakhipur started the operation after identifying the spot of burial. But, it failed to proceed due to stiff opposition and resistance from the villagers. In fact, more than 80 families of Kalabil united to foil the operation.
On Friday, the police force drawn from different police stations and assisted by CRPF in large number again started the operation after surrounding the village from all sides. But, as attempts were being made by the joint team of police and CRPF to exhume the body, a crowd of men and women managed to assemble and descended down from a tilla and moved towards to confront the force and again resist it. But, as directed by the Magistrate, Ruthlienthang, accompanying the force, lathi–charge was resorted to by the police which kept the crowd at bay and in disarray. Ultimately, the body of Jahar Lal Mura was exhumed.
On the basis of preliminary investigation, the police arrested 11 persons, 3 of them are females, who included Sukumar Mura (26), Umesh Mura (40), Manu Mura (27), Ranjit Tantubai (22), Rabaroshan Tantubai (30), Nipen Mura (27), Bimal Tantubai (53), Rajesh Mura (32), Kunjabati Mura (40), Rita Mura (45), and Radharani Tantubai (32) were taken into custody. It is yet to be ascertained who actually motivated these persons to go for the heinous crime. Sukumar Mura is believed to be the kingpin of the barbaric and inhuman act. Skeletons would roll out of the cupboard of the entire diabolical plot. The preliminary finding of the police is that Jahar Lal was badly beaten and battered with sharp weapons like trident.
Why was Jahar Lal Mura sacrificed so mercilessly? The villagers in unison targeted him as 'an evil force' for whom nothing good could be done or achieved for the village. This became a sort of firm belief in the minds of villagers. Some of them claimed that their hidden deity had appeared in their dream and asked them to kill Jahar Lal and offer him as sacrifice before her whom they worshipped as 'Sarva Mangala Kali' who in turn would bless the village and its people with peace and prosperity and fulfill their wishes. It was this driving force that led the villagers to kill Jahar Lal on Thursday around mid noon.
Ruthlienthang, Circle Officer of Lakhipur sub division, who led the force for exhuming the body, told The Sentinel, "it was something unimaginable even in this age of science and technology. When the 11 accused were arrested, they were chanting in the name of their deity and believed the deity had deserted them." This came out from all their yelling and shouting, she added to say. It was the son of Jahar Lal, a tea garden worker, Chuni Lal Mura, who took the courage to inform the police and file FIR against all the accused in Banskandi police station vide case No. 151/2013 u/s 147/148/149/447/302/201. Police, as Ruthlienthang said, was first informed of the incident by the GP president of Narainpur, Jagdish Bania.
Today, all the accused persons were produced before the CJM Court here. They were remanded to jail where they would be subjected to further interrogation and investigation by the police. The village of Kalabil inhabited by tea tribe people as well as Santhals continues to languish in darkness with jungles all around without connectivity, electricity and other basic facilities. Sarva Shiksha Mission is yet to make any impact in this remote and isolated village. It is this isolation and illiteracy that are behind the ignorance and blind faiths of the people. (Source-Sentinelassam)

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