‘I Am Not a Maoist,’ Says Tribal Man Listed as ‘Wanted’ in Jharkhand’s Bokaro

Virsa is familiar with the courtroom ever since he was charged under the Prevention of Witch Practices Act after an alleged scuffle with his relatives in 2006.

“There was a case of jaadu-tona (witchcraft) and I went to jail for it. I was in and out of jail in the witchcraft case a few times. Recently, I was arrested again in 2019. Although I got out on bail, I had to make my children drop out of school because whatever I earned was too little to feed the family,” he says.

Lakshmikant Prasad, Virsa’s lawyer in the witchcraft case, says that the other five people charged in the case were acquitted except Virsa because he missed his court hearings.

Virsa now fears for his life and his family if he is arrested.

The December 2021 summon was over a militant case registered in 2008. The police have one Birsa Manjhi absconding in the case. However, they don’t have much information on who this person is or what he looks like, according to Dinesh Murmu, an activist with Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a tribal welfare organisation.

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