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Pathalgarhi supporters kill 7 villagers in Jharkhand: Police

Pathalgarhi supporters kill 7 villagers in Jharkhand: Police

Ranchi: Supporters of "Pathalgarhi" movement, armed with lathis and axes,kidnapped seven villagers and later killed them in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand for allegedly opposing their stir, police said on Wednesday.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) Saket Kumar Singh said the policemen reached Burugulikera village on Tuesday night after getting information about the killing of seven natives. After murdering, the killers had dumped bodies of the victims in a forest.

A panchayat representative was among those massacred, he said. After an overnight search operation, bodies of the seven villagers were recovered from the forest, four km from the village, he said.

There was a meeting over 'Pathalgarhi' movement in the village on Tuesday when a dispute had arisen, West Singhbhum Superintendent of Police Indrajit Mahata said.

Following the development, supporters of the movement kidnapped seven villagers and later killed them with the help of lathis and axes, he said.

Pathalgarhi is a name given to a tribal protest which seeks autonomy for village sabhas (Gramsabhas). Those demanding Pathalgarhi want no laws of the land be applicable on the tribal people in the area. The Pathalgarhis reject government rights over their forests and rivers. As part of the movement, Pathalgarhis erect a stone plaque or signboard outside the village/area, declaring the village as sovereign territory and prohibiting the entry of the outsiders.

Expressing grief over the incident, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said "Law is above all and the guilty will not be spared. The police is investigating the matter."

A high-level meeting will be convened to prevent recurrence of such an incident, he said.

On June 19, five NGO workers were allegedly abducted and gangraped by armed men associated with the Pathalgarhi movement.

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