A 75-year-old villager was sentenced for life in prison for the murder of 11 people in Chirudih that took place 49 years ago. 

The convict is Ramakant Dutta( 75). He is the eighth convict declared on Wednesday by Jamtara Civil Court’s Additional District Judge-1 Santosh Kumar.  

After the Judge, Santosh Kumar made public his judgement, Ranskant Das was sent to jail who was arrested on April 8, 2024.He has been in jail during the past over two months. 

Families of the victims say the court judgement has come far too late to hold any meaning for them and legal experts say this is a classic case of "justice delayed, justice denied". 

The evening of 23 January 1975 is etched in the memory of the oldest residents of Chirudih village in the Jamtara district of Jharkhand. "A group of men armed with traditional weapons came on the bank of the river near 

Banspahari,Rajaia,Tarni,Muchiadih,Rasiabitha and Chirudih held a 'Jan Adalat' (people's court or Kangaroo court) and killed 11 persons on charges of carrying forward Mahajani Pratha(indulging in money lending on high interest rates)”, says Prempati Bagar, a 80- year old resident of Chirudih.

Most of them belonged to minority community.Bagar is not sure about his age but says the colour of the river water had become “red” almost five decades ago.

"They didn't ask me anything, they just began spraying bow and arrows and other traditional weapons the accused”, he says, adding that within minutes, all 11 bodies - lay dead around the river. In all, 28 persons were held accused.Later, the trial in the court started against 22 accused. 

Six accused were reported “ missing” since beginning. On March 8,2008, 14 accused persons were acquitted on grounds of “ lack of evidence” by the court headed by Jamtara Additional District Judge-1. 

Among those accused who were acquitted were Chotu Soren,Shyamlal Hembrom, Dasarath Murmu and JMM Chief and MP Shibu Soren. Shibu Soren who was arrested in this case once was released on bail and later declared “ not guilty.”

On March 12, 2008, other accused such as Jaidev Tuddu, Naghniyal Hembrom, Satyanarayan Poddar,Jaikumar Sen,Jhungru Pandit and Sikandar Miyan were convicted and awarded life imprisonment. 

They had separately filed petition challenging the court’s division in the Jharkhand High Court where their pleas were awaiting hearing for justice delivery.

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