Often, families of victims of state violence are dejected, believing the state and police to be too powerful, and are resigned to taking the compensation offered and keeping their rage to themselves.
Then there are families who keep ‘the file’ – a sign that for them, the matter is far from over. Anita Minj is one of those.
Last week, on August 22, Anita Minj held a small, private ceremony in her home in Bargarh to remember her husband, Ramesh Minj, who died last year. He, along with a group of Oraon Adivasi villagers from Barkol in Garhwa district of Jharkhand, were attacked by self-proclaimed ‘gau rakshaks (cow protectors)’ from Barkol on August 19, 2017. Ramesh succumbed to his injuries three days later.
“A group of villagers just like my husband would spend over 90 days in prison for cattle slaughter,” said the wife of the deceased. Ever since the ‘picket’ had come to Barkol, which was around 2012, there has been constant harassment of Adivasis. In one incident, the Yadavs apparently poisoned the goats and sheep of the Oraon Adivasis. (Locals refer to the CRPF camps as ‘pickets’)
In her complaint to the superintendent of police, Garhwa, Anita listed 39 names, gathered from witnesses and victims, that the original police FIR didn’t contain and said, “They beat up my husband and brother-in-law, accusing them of cow slaughter, and shouted dirty casteist slurs. Some people from the crowd encouraged the violence, shouting, ‘Kill them! No one should get away alive.’”
While speaking with a media house The wire, Anita mitigated her anger against the people who killed her husband, and the government that she feels hasn’t done enough. According to Anita, the killers of her husband were associated with BJP-RSS.