The murder of a 16-year-old boy, Mobasir, by the Government’s arsenal yet again doomed Jharkhand. Often dismissed as the State harboring Naxals, Jharkhand has always remained the ignored child. The riots continue to grow wild and after this incident, nothing would be the same again. Because as it’s said, “When the police murder, who do you call?” The embers set aflame by a long queue of corrupt Government are eating Jharkhand away!
When (mis)fortune strikes, there are no warnings. Jharkhand is the best case study for the aforementioned phrase. There was a time when the media wouldn’t even dare acknowledge the state’s autonomy. Yet today, Jharkhand is at the tip of everyone’s tongue. Unfortunately, it isn’t for a good cause. The state-sanctioned murder of a 16-year-old boy has called upon the wrath of India, pulling Jharkhand into the limelight. Or, the uncontrolled riot on Maha Shivratri is just another recent incident in a decaying province. As a concerned citizen of the state, this fame is as good as a noose in our neck.
Jharkhand is India’s richest mining province. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Tata Steel Groups, Kalakand, and Rasika Dugal are just some of the most famous contributions of the state to India. And yet, for ages, Jharkhand has evaded the mainstream media’s eyes. By being left unseen and ignored, Jharkhand is now known for some of the worst crimes, Jamtara‘s hub being one.
Though the protests arose because of what was said against a certain community, it was in that particular community’s fundamental right to protest – peacefully! Many suggested that the incident demanded bullets even though there were better and less violent means to control such incidents. Often when the cops become involved, the demand is to have an unbiased entity deliver justice. Instead what happened during the protests was politically manipulated. Had the outcry taken the lives of the youngsters, it would have been different. The police’s complacency and corruption are the criminals here and the state should be held accountable.
In December 2019, Jharkhand overthrew the saffron-clad BJP, which had a landslide victory in 2014. This change in leadership was a slap for the inefficient and complacent politicians. It was a clear message that the actual power still resided in the public’s hands and they were not ready to give that up. Jharkhand’s history of independence has a lot of struggles in it. And corrupt leaders were a mutual deal after partition for both, Jharkhand and Bihar. Chief Minister Hemant Soren, too, is a dishonest leader who has blindfolds that make ignoring his own mistakes much easier.
The Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, has done nothing to better Jharkhand’s lynching conditions. From Sanju Pradhan‘s murder to the lynching of Muslims under the impression of carrying beef right before every Eid-ul-Adha is a reality for many. Moreover, Jharkhand’s superstitious beliefs, too, have taken the lives of many. According to the CID data, killings of about 27 people in 2019, 28 in 2020, and about two dozen in 2021 were registered, under suspicion of them being “witches“. Sure, to say that the CM has done nothing to ease these wounds would be me ridiculing myself. Yet those endeavours are just not enough to stop these evil practices. However, any smart government would know that these numbers are only the registered ones. Many cases that never get registered continue to echo in the jungles of this state.
In a time when India should soar, Jharkhand is still grappling with the bare necessities. Despite mining about 40% of India’s coal, it is still one of the poorest states. Due to the inefficiency of the government, thousands of Covid vaccines were wasted. Jharkhand’s need for change in its education system is urgent. Yet, its own Education Minister isn’t a graduate himself. This certainly does not mean that less educated people don’t deserve higher posts; but people with a better understanding of education would be much better candidates. Unsurprisingly, the state also saw a 17% rise in rape cases in 2021, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The NCRB reports also released that offences against SC/ST communities were the highest in Jharkhand in 2020. The most popular motives were – vendetta and enmity (269), love affairs (62), dowry (56), and illicit relationships (36).
But Jharkhand’s obstacles to being India’s pride do not end at these issues but begin from them. As a third-generation citizen of Jharkhand, I know these cases and statistics by heart. They may be mere names and numbers for the elite and the CM, but as a person who has always seen her neighbourhood burn, it’s a death sentence we serve every day. The CM’s uncanny silence on the devastating murder of Mobasir empowers the ones behind it. The inciter should be held responsible, whoever they may be – the Hindutva groups, Muslims, or the State, itself. It was the State’s irresponsibleness to curb the upheaval that followed the protests. The death of Mobasir and Sahil was from the State’s guns and that is a fact. There is room for compensation because these kids were not anti-social elements, that could be easily disposed of and whose lives did not matter. They mattered and so does Jharkhand who’s being chewed whole by a Government that sleeps in castles and does a cameo every six months in a helicopter, blissful in their ignorance of whatever the on-ground reality is like!
Juhi Salim is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Anzal Khan
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.