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Adivasi Activist Jeetrai Hansda Arrested for 2017 Facebook Post About The Right of Adivasis to Eat Beef

The noted theatre artist teaches teaches drama at Graduate School College for Women in Jamshedpur.

Jeetrai Hansda, theatre artist and a drama teacher at the Graduate School and College for Women in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, was arrested on May 25 for a 2017 Facebook post in which he had defended the right of Adivasis to eat beef.

In the said FB post, Hansda, who belongs to the Santhali tribal community, had criticised the cow slaughter laws saying that Adivasis eat beef at the time of funeral rites and during festivals, adding that Indian laws should not force them to abandon their rituals and practices. “If you really consider Adivasis to be a part of India, then protect their rights and stop making laws such as these,” he had written.

Also read: Gujarat is Hell On Earth For Dalits & Adivasis: Jignesh Mevani On Murder Of 17-year-old Dalit Boy

An FIR had been filed on June 2, 2017, against Hansda’s FB post, under sections 153A (1)(s) [promoting enmity between religions] and section 295A (maliciously hurting religious sentiments).

While he wasn’t arrested at the time of filing of the FIR, a non-bailable warrant was ordered against Hansda in June 2018. His application for anticipatory bail, however, was rejected.

HuffPost India reported that an official at the Sakchi police station had confirmed that Hansda was in their custody.

“As a Santhali, eating beef is part of my culture…If Santhalis are Indian, there should be no laws which force us to adopt Hindu customs. I reject that,” he had told Scroll.in

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