In a horrific incident, seven villagers have been allegedly murdered in the jungles of Burugelikera village of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, by the Pathalgadhi supporters. The incident came to light when the seven villagers who had opposed to Pathalgadhi movement went missing from the village.
The fight between the two groups started on January 17, when Pathalgadhi supporters were asking for documents of identity and other necessary papers in the village, which was opposed by the non-Pathalgadhi supporters. Thereafter a fight broke out between both the groups and the Pathalgadhi supporters were injured. On January 19 the Pathalgadhi supporters led by main accused Ransi Budh captured seven people including James Budh and killed them in the jungle.
Police have recovered the bodies of all the seven people, deep in the jungles, 3 km away from their village. They were allegedly murdered for staging a protest against the Pathalgadi movement. The victim's families have alleged the involvement of Naxals in the incident.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren who after learning about the incident called a high-level meeting to review the situation and instructed the police to take necessary action. Hemant Soren said, "This is a very unfortunate incident. No one is allowed to take the law into their own hands. The government is very clear about this and stringent actions will be taken."
Police have registered an FIR and are further investigating the murder. Police have denied it as a clash between Pathalgadhi and non-Pathalgadhi supporters.
SP of Chaibasa, Inderjeet Mahtha said, "Seven dead bodies have been recovered from the jungle and the bodies have been sent for postmortem. The incident was triggered on January 16, when 9 villagers attacked and destroyed the properties of villagers living in 5 households. Thereafter a panchayat meeting was convened on January 19, and seven people were made captive and killed in the jungle".
Reports of clashes of the groups supporting and opposing the Pathalgadi movement had taken place in the Khunti district of Jharkhand a few years ago. After assuming office in December 2019, Hemant Soren announced to withdraw all cases registered during the Pathalgadi movement and protests against the amendments to Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT Act) and Santhal Paragana Tenancy Act, 1949 (SPT Act).
Pathalgadi refers to a practice of placing stone plaques with declarations and warning inscribed on them at the entry point of villages. The plaques, proclaiming allegiance to the Constitution, carries inscriptions dismissing the authority of centre and state governments in the villages. It has declared the gram sabha as the only sovereign authority and has prohibited the entry of outsiders in the villages.