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The police are yet to file an FIR in the Saturday incident, in which Jagarnath Mahato, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA of Dumri, held a kangaroo court and “punished” a man, Jitendra Choudhary, by tying him to a tree for an hour.

The incident took place at Bhandaridah, 40 km from the Bokaro district headquarters. Mahato, 45, apparently acted after Choudhary’s wife, Sunita Devi, sought action against her alcoholic husband who had assaulted her and sold her jewellery. Choudhary has been selling off his family possessions to buy booze. Both of them have been married for six years and have a daughter.

She approached Mahato, who was holding one of his “durbars” at the Bhandaridah residence. After hearing her complaint, Mahato ordered his supporters to bring Choudhary to the spot. He was thrashed and tied to a tree till he apologised.

In his comments reported in the local press, Mahato described himself as a “guardian” who wanted to change Choudhary. The MLA refused to talk about the incident with The Indian Express. Bokaro SP Kuldeep Dwivedi said he has asked the Sub Divisional Police Officer of Bermo to talk to the victim. ” We will lodge an FIR if the man who was assaulted wants us to,” he said. Assault is not a cognisable offence and needs a complaint for the police to probe.

Earlier on January 11, 2011, Mahato had thrashed two men for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman. The then state DGP had promised that there would be an inquiry into Mahato’s ‘Janata durbars’. Even JMM leaders had promised action against him but nothing much seems to have happened.

Thanks to the reluctance of the police to act, the “durbars” of Mahato are quite popular. He has always managed to remain in the limelight. In July 2012, he had threatened to immolate himself at the Assembly compound in support of the striking para teachers of the state.

His brother, Ganesh Mahato, was shot dead in 2009 over a money-related dispute. Six have been awarded life term in the case. Mahato himself has six cases against him, according to the affidavit submitted by him while contesting the 2009 Assembly polls. The website of the Association of Democratic Reforms that documents election affidavits shows that Mahato has a case of attempt to murder, among others.



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