In Bihar in the past few months there has been a string of incidents in which mobs have lynched people over rumours of crimes committed by them. At least 7 such incidents are reported to have occurred in the state since August last.

In a recent incident in Araria district, a 55-year-old man was brutally beaten to death by a mob of around 300, over suspicion of cattle theft. Kabul Miyan was attacked over the face, beaten with sticks and repeatedly called chor or thief. The murder was recorded by some of the attackers on their mobile phones.

The mob, led by a man they call Muslim Miyan, can be heard encouraging each other to continue thrashing the victim. They even remove his trousers as they rain blows on him.

The Citizen spoke to KP Singh, the sub divisional police officer in Araria. Singh told us the assailants were known to the victim; that they were from the same community; and that the victim had a criminal background.

Asked if he was implying that someone with a ‘criminal background’ deserves to be murdered by a mob, SPO Singh said “The investigation is going on” and was reluctant to comment further.

Manoj Jha, Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson of the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, told The Citizen that “JDU (Janta Dal United) has gone berserk. They have lost control over the law and order situation within the state of Bihar. There were no instances of mob violence when the RJD shared power with the JDU till 2017.

“As soon as communal forces came to power along with the JDU, the law and order situation deteriorated. The chief minister of Bihar is losing control.”

Jha added, “Lalu ji believed in harmony among communities. Under the present government there has been a rise in communal enmity.”

On January 2, RJD leader Indal Paswan was shot dead in Nalanda. A mob then attacked the homes of two suspects and set them on fire. Two people died in the mob violence, including a 13 year old child who was thrashed to death. The violence took place in the home district of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Similarly, in a spate of incidents in September and October last year, spread across various districts of Bihar, mobs have murdered unarmed people on suspicion of crimes.

Earlier in 2018, a woman in her mid-fifties was lynched by a mob in Rohtas district, on suspicion that she was practising witchcraft.

Despite several efforts to reach Chief Minister Kumar and senior police officials for comment on the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, The Citizen received no response.