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THREE PEOPLE were arrested on Saturday for the murder of three men who were held allegedly stealing cattle in Durgapur village of West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district late Thursday night. The accused were identified as Asit Basu (29), son of Atul Basu, at whose house the victims were caught, Asim Basu (27), and Krishna Poddar (24) — all residents of Chopra area of the district bordering Bangladesh.
“We have initiated a probe and arrested three people today,” Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar Rathod told The Sunday Express. “Action will be taken against everyone who took law into their hand.”
Rathod said that the three victims had past complaints of cattle theft against them, and raids are on to identify others involved in the mob lynching.
On Thursday night, chased by a mob through the village, Nasirul Haque (30), Mohammed Samiruddin (32), Mohammed Nasir kept pleading and screaming for mercy, witnesses said, but the mob, blaming the trio for cattle theft, went after them iron rods, wooden sticks and stones.
Two of them were reportedly beaten to death on the spot. Nasirul Haque succumbed to injuries at Islampur sub-divisional hospital, the police said. “Locals chased them and beat them until they died,” a local police official said. “The bodies have been sent for autopsy, and an impartial inquiry has been ordered.”
Chopra police registered a case on a complaint from Haque’s mother Mumtaj Biwi.
Indicating that it was a law and order issue, an official said, “It was a case of theft in which people lost patience and gave vent to their anger. There is no communal angle to it. Adequate police personnel have been deployed in the area as precautionary measure.”
According to information, the three victims were part of a gang of about 10 alleged cattle thieves. Locals claim that after allegedly stealing cattle from two houses, they targetted Atul Basu’s house and were found out. The owners alerted the village, and the three were caught by the mob even as the other alleged gang members fled, locals have said.
This is said to be second such incident of lynching of alleged cattle thieves in North Dinajpur district. The police had recovered the body of a Muslim man from an area under Islampur police station’s jurisdiction on March 17. Investigations later led police to conclude that he was killed over suspicion of cattle theft.
Like Thursday night’s incident, a pick-up van and a bundle of ropes were seized by the police.
Hamidur Rahman, the local MLA from Trinamool Congress, told the media that there were reports of cattle theft in the area earlier. “On Thursday night, (as some alleged thieves were caught), that anger turned violent. Law will take its own course,” he said.