“Can’t a man go and confront someone if a girl was harassed,” asked the 62-year-old mother of the 22-year-old contractual worker, who died in a scuffle on Tuesday morning in Jharkhand’s Palamu district after two minor girls were allegedly sexually harassed. Sitting at her home in a village, she held on to her son’s white clothes, saying he was “brutally beaten up” by 10 people after he, along with three others, went to confront a few men of the neighbouring village over the alleged sexual harassment.
The contractual labourer, who had returned home three days ago, was part of a group of four men who went to the neighbouring village for a confrontation. His brother, who was part of the group, said, “Those girls complained to their neighbours who told us and we thought to intervene. After we reached, arguments ensued and it took a heated turn and they dominated us… None of the villagers intervened,” he said.
He said his brother was hit by a sharp object near his chest and a “hole” was seen in the body. However, the doctor who conducted the postmortem at a government hospital, said, “There was no such hole in the chest. His probable cause of death is due to internal injuries.”
Palamu SP Indrajit Mahatha said no complaint has been filed so far regarding any kind of sexual harassment. “An FIR was earlier registered under murder charges and the police later added molestation charge,” he said.
Palamu Police have arrested one person who has been sent to judicial custody.
The two minor girls, both Class IX students, said the incident took place on Tuesday while they were cycling through the neighbouring village to a coaching centre four kilometres away.
“The school is not enough, and we take tuition separately. On Tuesday, after we reached that village, we found that a few boys were stalking us. When they grabbed my dupatta, we screamed and ran. The same thing happened when we came back,” they said.
The minor girls did not go for tuition on Wednesday and their mothers also showed unwillingness fearing some backlash after the FIR.