In a first, court awards life sentence to 11 cow vigilantes in Jharkhand

Ranchi: In a first, a fast-track court in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district on Wednesday sentenced 11 people, including one local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, to life imprisonment for lynching a Muslim trader they suspected of transporting beef last year.

The court didn’t decide on a 12th convict who is reported to be a minor.

The court of additional district judge Om Prakash had held the 11 men guilty under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), among other offences, on March 16.

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The victim Alimuddin Ansari, 55, was beaten to death by the men for transporting beef on June 29 last year. He was lynched to death barely hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that killing in the name of cow protection is unacceptable.

The 11 men — Santosh Singh, Chottu Verma, Deepak Mishra, Vicky Saw, Sikandar Ram, Uttam Ram, Vikram Prasad, Raju Kumar, Rohit Thakur, Kapil Thakur and BJP worker Nityanand Mahto — were convicted of murdering AAnsari alias Asgar Ali. The convicts were also fined Rs 2,000 each.

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Additional public prosecutor Sushil Kumar Shukla said this was the first case of cow vigilantism in the country in which the accused were convicted and punished.

“However, the court is yet to decide on the defence counsel’s contention that the 12th convict is a juvenile. We have opposed it on the grounds that he is over 16 years of age,” he added.

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