Three suspected cattle thieves were beaten to death allegedly by villagers of Kaimrala in Dadri on Sunday. Police said a vehicle was also set on fire and additional forces were rushed to the area after the incident.
The incident took place around 6 am on Sunday when villagers intercepted the vehicle of the suspected thieves, said Preetinder Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Budh Nagar.
The police said the villagers had been following the truck. When they intercepted the vehicle, the suspected thieves allegedly opened fire at them. In response, the villagers hurled stones at them, the police added.
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Several people were injured in the violence. While two of the five suspected thieves fled, three were allegedly beaten to death by the angry mob, said the police.
“There were two buffaloes in the vehicle. The villagers took the animals out and set the vehicle on fire. The police arrived at the spot at around 7 am,” said Anurag Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dadri).
DSP Singh added that the alleged theft was discovered by the villagers around 4 am and they had been tracking the vehicle.
Police rushed the injured to a nearby hospital. The deceased were identified as Anaf and Arif, residents of Dasna in Ghaziabad, and Nazim, a resident of Bulandshahr.
Preetinder Singh said two of the deceased reportedly had a criminal history, particularly related to similar cases of cattle smuggling. The police were investigating the charges.
“There hasn’t been such an incident in this area for years. We see instances of cattle smuggling further inside western UP in places such as Muzaffarnagar and Bulandshahr. We have deployed additional forces in the area to prevent any untoward incident,” he added.
The police said an FIR had been lodged by the villagers against the alleged smugglers under sections 382 (theft), 457 (trespass) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC. Senior police officers said another FIR was likely to be filed against the villagers.
Police have seized a countrymade pistol, a motorcycle and the truck that was set ablaze.