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Tribal Christian Brutally Murdered for a Wooden Cot

ICC note: Forest officials brutally beat Christian man.

6/18/07 Hazaribagh, India (SVM News) –Jeevan Munda, 35 year old tribal christian villager of Katkamsandi block in Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand State was allegedly beaten to death for an wooden cot that he had brought home.

Jeevan Munda had been gone to his inlaw’s house at Patiyatari of Ichaak on Friday, June 15, from where he went missing till his body was recovered from the jungle on Saturday.

Jeevan’s wife Etwaria Devi has lodged a first information report (FIR) against the forest range officer Saket Bihari and two other forest officials Durga Oraon and Devlal Mahto alleging that they killed her husband.

According to the FIR, three forest officials punished him with death after dragging him inside the Hazaribagh wildlife sanctuary in the pretext of “enquiring as to how he arranged for the wood for this bed”.

Driver of forest department jeep JH02G/1958 Loknath Mahto, who has been charged in the FIR, said Munda was taken to Rajderwa forest area under Hazaribagh wildlife sanctuary and beaten up by Durga Oraon and Devlal Mahto, which resulted in his death.

Villagers of Katkamsandi block hit the streets and blocked Ranchi-Patna highway near District More for more than five hours under the leadership of Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Mehta, Member of the Parliament in Hazaribagh, after they recovered Munda’s body with injury marks all over.

Vehicles, including long-distance trucks, were seen stranded on both sides of the road for several kilometres. This made police officers, including sub-divisional officer Ravindra Kumar Singh and deputy superintendent of police Naushad Alam, to reach to the spot and pacify the agitators.

The blockade was lifted after the forest officials agreed to pay Rs 200 every month to the victim’s family, besides foodgrain and immediate compensation of Rs 10,000.

The MP said to the Salem Voice Ministries (SVM) News Service that Jeevan was a daily wager and due to this they continued with their agitation till officials agreed for proper help.

Rev. Paul Ciniraj, national president of the Christian Ministers of the Churches of India (CMCI) and the Director of the Salem Voice Ministries condemned the brutal killing of an innocent tribal man. “Tribals are the assest of the nation. It is government’s duty to provide their needs and protect their lives”, Paul Ciniraj said.