A day after an alleged drug peddler was lynched in Bhagiwander village in Punjab’s Bathinda district, residents of the village on Friday claimed collective responsibility for the act and gathered in large numbers to counter any police action.
The villagers have alleged that Vinod Kumar alias Monu supplied drugs in the area and also indulged in “eve teasing”.
Vinod’s family members have alleged that Raju, son of village Sarpanch Charanjeet Kaur, was the prime accused, and have said that they won’t cremate the body till Raju and others involved in the lynching are arrested.
The body has been kept in a freezer at Vinod’s house on Lelewala road in Mansa.
The family members claimed that they had been living at Mansa on rent after the Bhagiwander Panchayat ousted them from the village on charges of supplying drugs. Vinod’s father Vijay Kumar is in jail in a drug-related case.
His brother Kuldeep said jail authorities were likely to allow his father to come out of jail for a day on Saturday. “He will come to see my brother’s face for the last time. If police does not name Raju and others accompanying him in the murder case, we will not cremate the body,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bhagiwander village remains in the grip of tension. “The situation is very tense. We will wait till the cremation and then hold a meeting of residents of Bhagiwander and adjoining villages,” said a senior police officer. Bathinda Zone IG
M S Chhina, when asked about the villagers claiming collective responsibility, said, “We have ways to identify those responsible for the murder.”