Adivasi activist and a college professor Jeetrai Hansda was arrested by Jharkhand police on Saturday for writing a Facebook post in 2017 where he defended the culture and rights of eating beef in his community.
Hansda is a National School of drama graduate and a B.Ed teacher with Graduate School College for Women (GSCW) in Jamshedpur.
A complaint was filled against him in June 2017 however the police picked him up yesterday when he was returning home from an award function on May 25. He is currently in police custody and hasn’t been presented in front of the magistrate yet.
He was booked under sections 153 (A), 295A, 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for insulting religious feelings and attempts to promote enmity between groups of people.
The FIR lodged at the Sakchi police station in Jamshedpur, stated that Hansda had written a Facebook post asserting that the adivasi community in India has had a long tradition of eating beef and ceremonial cow sacrifice.
Jeetrai Hansda said that for the Adivasis, the issue wasn’t even limited to food. “We not only eat beef, cattle sacrifice is a part of the Santhal festival of Doson. Even the Mundas sacrifice cattle. “It is their democratic and cultural right to consume the meat,” he said.
The post also said that they oppose India’s laws on eating beef and that his community also consumes peacocks, the country’s national bird. He also expressed his unwillingness to follow Hindu customs. “Any ban on beef is an attack on our culture. This law forces Hindu customs on us.”
Going by the reports, an unidentified lawyer handling Hansda’s case told HuffPost India that he suspects the arrest was made two years after the complaint was lodged because the Bharatiya Janata Party did not want to anger Adivasi communities before the General Elections. The saffron party kept up its dominance in the state in the elections, winning 12 of 14 Lok Sabha seats.