Official investigation finds police complicity in religious lynching in India

Over the last five years, India has seen an outbreak of religious hate crimes, with an average of one happening every week. While some of them have drawn mass protests, social media outrage, hashtags and even a response from the government, others have gone almost unnoticed.

In April this year, 55-year-old Prakash Lakda, a member of a Christian tribe, was lynched by a mob of Hindu villagers who suspected him of slaughtering a cow in the central Indian state of Jharkhand. Three other tribals from his village were also attacked, leaving them grievously injured.

Now, a police investigation has shown that Lakda’s death might have been as much a result of police complicity as it was of the violent mob. Last week, the investigation revealed how Lakda and the three other victims were ignored by the police for over an hour and a half, as they lay on the street, writhing in pain, after having been attacked for over four hours.

The police, however, have now gone on to charge the three victims on charges of cow slaughter, an  offense under local laws that can lead to 10 years of imprisonment, or a fine of 10,000 rupees ( €126). The complaint against them was lodged by the mob that lynched Lakda.