Maharashtra: IRAC urges NHRC action following mob lynching of tribal elders

On 4 May 2024, the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) submitted a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) concerning the brutal killing of two elderly tribals, Jamni Telami (52 years) and Dewu Atlami (57 years), in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra. The victims were allegedly tortured and burnt alive by a mob acting under the orders of the village panchayat in the Barsewada hamlet on 1 May 2024. Reports suggest that the tribals were accused of practicing black magic, which was blamed for the death of an infant in the village. The village panchayat purportedly conducted a trial, pronounced them guilty, and sanctioned their lynching. The victims endured three hours of torture before being dragged 1km into the forest, where they were set on fire. Their charred remains were discovered by the police in a nullah in the forested hamlet of Etapalli taluka on 2 May 2024. IRAC condemns this heinous act as a gross violation of human rights and has called upon the NHRC to intervene urgently. IRAC urges the NHRC to direct the Maharashtra State Government to conduct a thorough investigation, bring the perpetrators to justice, provide compensation of at least Rs 10 lakh each to the victims’ families, and outline measures taken to prevent such atrocities in the future. The organization emphasizes the need for swift and decisive action to address this grave injustice and ensure the protection of tribal communities from such barbaric acts.