Express News Service
BHOPAL: A 45-year-old tribal man, who was searching for his wife, was first hit by a motorcycle, then beaten up mercilessly by a group of men, before being tied to a pick-up vehicle and dragged on the road — all on suspicion of being a thief, in Singoli area of Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh.
The victim identified as Kanhaiya Lal Bheel succumbed to wounds later on Thursday only at Neemuch district hospital.
The police have booked 8 men in connection with the incident. Five of them, including prime accused Chhitar Gurjar and Mahendra Gurjar (whose wife is a village sarpanch and was supported in a panchayat poll by ruling BJP), have already been arrested. “Besides the three absconding accused, the police are also checking out whether there were more people involved in the crime or not,” Neemuch SP Suraj Verma said on Saturday.
The video of the middle-aged tribal man (with both legs tied through a rope) being mercilessly beaten, and tied to a pick-up vehicle before being dragged on the road, has gone viral over social media.
The shocking incident happened when Bheel was searching for his wife, who had gone away with her brother-in-law. He was stopping and checking vehicles on the road to find out if his wife is inside the vehicle. This is the time when the prime accused Chhitar Gurjar was driving a motorbike. He hit Bheel deliberately suspecting the tribal man to be a thief.
Subsequently, Gurjar called more men, including Mahendra Gurjar (husband of Bandada village sarpanch) to the spot and all of them mercilessly thrashed the middle-aged man. Seeing Bheel being beaten, his friend Govind Nai fled from the spot fearing that he would also fall prey to the attackers. The savagery didn’t end there, as Bheel was subsequently tied to a pick-up vehicle and dragged up to 50-100 meters.
“The video of the incident helped the police to ascertain the extent of the crime. On Thursday, a First Response Vehicle (FRV) was sent to the spot following a phone call about an accident. On the spot, it was reported that the tribal man was injured critically due to a vehicle hit. His friend too reported the same. The victim’s statement couldn’t be recorded as he was unconscious and died before regaining consciousness at the Neemuch district hospital later.
Subsequently, a case of causing death by negligence (Section 304 IPC) was registered initially. But subsequent probe and the viral video established later that it was actually a case of intentional killing by a group of men, after which the accused were identified and booked for murder (Section 302 IPC), and the pick-up vehicle too was seized,” SP Neemuch told The New Indian Express.
All eight accused, including sarpanch’s husband Mahendra Gurjar, have also been booked under provisions of the SC/ST Act. Importantly, it was Mahendra Gurjar only, who had rung the police on Thursday and informed about the tribal man lying on road after an accident, after which an FRV was rushed to the spot. But later probe revealed that Mahendra was among those who lynched the tribal on suspicion of being a thief.