A 20-year-old man was lynched by a mob in Jharkhand on suspicion of theft, reported The Telegraph on Sunday.

The victim, identified as Wajid Ansari, a resident of Chanho block in Ranchi district, was first tied by electric police and then beaten up by the villagers of Pandri on Friday, the police said. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital the next day.

Superintendent of Police (Rural) Naushad Alam said that Ansari, along with some other men, had entered the house of a person identified as Jeevan Oraon on Friday morning to steal, reported The New Indian Express.

“But, the house owner somehow got up and raised an alarm,” the police officer said. “The villagers assembled near his house and caught hold of Wajid Ansari, while his other friends succeeded to escape.”

Wajid Ansari’s father, Abdul Rahman Ansari, has, however, rejected the allegations of theft. Abdul Ansari claimed that his son used to smoke ganja (cannabis) but never stole anything. After finding that his son is being beaten up, Abdul Ansari asked the villagers what they had found in his possession.

“They said a packet of ganja had been found,” he added. “My son was bleeding profusely. Soon, the police reached the spot and took my son to the hospital. He died a few hours later.”

He added: “Is possessing ganja a reason to kill somebody?”

Abdul Ansari has named nine persons in the police complaint, of whom three have been arrested.

Ranjay Kumar, the police officer in charge of Chanho block, said the trio were primarily responsible for the lynching.

“We have arrested Jeevan Oraon, Gobardhan Oraon and Nandu Oraon,” Kumar said. “We have lodged a case of murder. Other sections will be added based on the postmortem report.”

In December 2021, Jharkhand had become the fourth state after West Bengal, Manipur and Rajasthan to pass a Bill against mob lynching. The Bill is yet to receive the president’s approval.

Even though the Bill has been passed, several incidents of mob lynching have been reported in the state.

In January last year, a youth was burnt to death in Simdega district over allegations of felling trees in a sacred area. A month later, another youth was lynched in Hazaribagh, and in May, a forest committee member was beaten to death for resisting the felling of trees.

In September, three women were lynched near Ranchi on the suspicion of witchcraft. A month after, a youth was killed in Gumla on allegations of goat theft. A 47-year-old resident of Bokaro was beaten to death the same month over an alleged affair.