From daily wage labourers to men looking for work and from a gangman in the Railways to a farmer. They are among the 11 men arrested after Tabrez Ansari died on June 22 in a Jharkhand hospital, four days after he was attacked by a mob that accused him of theft.
On June 18, a mob tied Ansari to a pole, assaulted him and allegedly forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram and “Jai Hanuman”. Ansari was arrested on charges of theft after the assault and sent to judicial custody, but died of his injuries in hospital.
On June 23, police arrested 11 residents of Dhatkidih village, where the attack took place, and suspended two police personnel.
Speaking to villagers and family members of the 11 arrested, The Indian Express found out that only five of the men had completed Class 10, most are either daily wage labourers, unemployed or were looking for a job.
The 11 accused:
* Prakash alias Pappu Mandal, 28: The first person arrested, police said he was named as accused in the case. His Facebook posts show him wearing a BJP stole while residents of Dhatkidih said that he worked for “Arjun Munda’s party”. SP Saraikela Karthik S said, “None of the people arrested have any links to any political parties or any organisations linked to the political parties.”
* Kamal Mahto, 48: He is the complainant in the theft case against Ansari. He has studied until Class 10 and his daughter Monika Mahto, who is pursuing graduation, said, “He works as a railway gangman in Murup. All in the village are blaming us now for their ordeal. We just raised an alarm when we saw a thief.” Mahto’s is one of the few pucca houses in the village.
* Sumant Mahto, 24: The son of Kamal Mahto, Sumant, police said, was the first to raise an alarm about a “thief”. He is unmarried and completed an ITI course last year from Baghbera and finished an apprenticeship at a manufacturing company. His sister Monika said he was about to get a permanent job.
* Premchand Mahli, 21: Police said Mahli was present when the incident took place and according to villagers, he has completed his Class 10 and worked in a cement factory as a labourer. He does not own any land and his parents make baskets from bamboo, which are sold in a market nearby.
* Sonaram Mahli, 31: He is Premchand Mahli’s cousin and works as a daily wage labourer. According to his neighbour, Jayanti, he has “not passed Class 10”. She also said that police have arrested his father Kushal Mahli, 65, because Sonaram had left the village for work. SP Saraikela said, “I am not aware that his father was arrested. We need to check this.”
* Satyanarayan Nayak, 55: A daily wage labour, who worked in houses as a painter earning Rs 100-150 a day. Satyanarayan’s family said that he did not study after Class 5 and lives in a kuccha house. His wife Saraswati Devi said that their daughter died recently. “We take care of our daughter’s son from my husband’s earning. Now I have nobody. He was there on June 18 but did not beat anyone,” she said.
* Madan Nayak, 30: Satyanarayan’s nephew, Nayak did not study beyond Class 5 and until recently, worked at a cement factory. His son Prakash said that he hasn’t been able to work over the last few days because he could not get a “gate pass”. “My father was there when the incident happened but he did not attack anyone,” he said.
* Bhim Mandal, 45: He sells “aalu patties and pakoras” at local markets in the area and has studied until Class 5. His wife Nandini said, “We got to know of the incident at 5 am when we woke up. Then he went to the spot to see.”
* Mahesh Mahli, 28: He completed his Class 10, according to his mother who did not want to be named. “He had gone to Ranchi for a course and works there too but had come home. He takes care of our entire family. He only went to see what was happening on June 18,” she said.
* Sonamu Pradhan, 23: His family has not been seen since the June 18 incident and according to villagers, Pradhan has completed Class 10 and is unmarried. Locals also said that he owned a recently bought tractor to plough land and also bought a “second-hand Bolero”.
* Chamu Nayak, 40: He owns some agricultural land and has three sons. His wife Sarathi Devi said he did not complete Class 10. “He was not even at the spot where the incident took place and he has not attacked anyone,” she said.