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Latehar villagers say, NO to Holi, to protest lynching of 2 cow-traders

CPI (M) politburo member demands probe by central agency

Latehar, Jharkhand  — Hindu residents of Balumath block in Jharkhand’s Latehar district have decided not to celebrate Holi in the mark to protest the lynching of two Muslim cow-traders last week.

“To protest the killing we all (Hindu community) have decided not to play colour on Holi in the commiseration to the victims’ family members,” said Rajendra Sahu, a district council member.

Senior police officers of the district have welcomed the decision of the villagers. “At the time when many are trying to politicize the issue, the call of protest — not to celebrate Holi — will ease the tension between the two communities in the region.”

On March 19 two Muslim youths herding cattle to a local market were found hanging from a tree. The deceased were identified as Mazlum Ansari,32, and Imteyaz Khan,14.

Sahu said, “To mark the protest we will take out a peace rally from the house of the victims. We will cross all squares of the Balumath block.”

The Latehar district police have arrested five people in connection to the lynching of the youths. The arrested had been identified as Mithilesh Prasad Sahu, Pramod Sahu, Manoj Prasad Sahu, Awdesh Sahu and Manoj Sahu.

“All the arrested are also denizens of the same village as that of the victims,” said Anoop Birthray, superintendent of police (SP), Latehar district. He added that they are investigating the killing in all possible angles including personal rivalry.

Another police officer not authorized to talk to the media said that one of the arrested is associated with Latehar’s Gau Raksha Samiti, a vigilant group active against cow trading.

However, CPI-M delegation led by polit bureau member Brinda Karat met Jharkhand’s Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday demanding a probe of the incident by a central agency.

Talking to the media after meeting the chief minister she said, “Jharkhand CM admitted to us that the killing was not due to any personal rivalry or dispute.”

She added that the Latehar police department and administration are trying to frame the incident as a case of personal rivalry.

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