There were rumors regarding supplying of beef in Muslim dominated areas in Jamshedpur and Adityapur.
“Last month, Halim, who helped in the wedding arrangements of Ansari’s daughter, was asked by some youths from the nearby Dando village if he had supplied beef for the feast. Halim and his friends pleaded innocence. We came to know this after the lynchings. Had we known earlier, we would have asked Halim and the others to stay away,” the villager said.
Shobhapur is a Muslim-dominated village with 500 plus population and 75 households and is surrounded with other villages like Kamalpur, Gopinathpur, Dando, Padnamsahi and Khiri villages, where Santhals and communities from other Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes live.
Ansari said: “We have always stayed peacefully at Shobhapur. Yes, Halim used to come here. He was a cattle trader and people bought buffaloes and cows from him at the Haldipokhar haat. What happened all of a sudden I can’t make out.”
After being attacked in the car on May 18, Halim along with his friends took shelter in Ansari’s home.
The lynching of these traders killing them started around 9 am.
“Yes, youths had put up a vigil on the night of May 17 over child-lifting rumors when Halim’s car was spotted in Rajnagar. Over a thousand people chased Halim and his three friends in the car to Shobhapur village. We did not know Halim and his friends were hiding in Ansari’s house.
“The crowd threw stones at the police, set a police jeep on fire and torched Halim’s car. We told them, ‘look, we will search for child-lifters in every house here and hand them over to the police’. They agreed and retreated. But, about 30 minutes later, when they came back in greater numbers, they were adamant on killing the men or torching the entire village. It seems in that gap of 30 minutes they had been incited to kill,” Mohammed said, as reported in The Telegraph.