Six people have been detained for questioning in Bengaluru in connection with the September 23 alleged murder of a 33-year-old Jharkhand man, who was assaulted over suspicion of child lifting, police said on Frday.
Police said victim Sanjay Tudu, who worked as a mason in Ramamurthy Nagar, was found dead on September 24 on a footpath in ITI colony under the KR Puram police jurisdiction. He was allegedly assaulted by a mob that mistook him for a child-lifter at Dargah Mohalla in Dooravani Nagar. Three of those detained have been identified as Parthibhan, Fayaz Pasha and Syed Khaja.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield) Girish S said, “Since no serious injuries were visible on the body, proceedings were initiated under the CrPC 174(C) initially. Further investigation, however, revealed that he was lynched over suspicion of child lifting. KR Puram police then registered a murder case.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Bheemashankar S Guled said Hoysala police had rescued Tudu and brought him to the police station. “He was drunk but alert. We asked him to file a complaint and also offered to take him to a hospital, but he refused and left the station saying he would go back to his hometown. He died later.”
To the allegation of Tudu dying in police custody, Guled said a CCTV camera footage of the victim walking out of the police station was there.
An internal inquiry was ordered against Ramamurthy Nagar police inspector Melvin Francis and Hoystala station staff. They provided video evidence that Tudu stayed there only for four minutes. There is no lapse on the police part, Guled added.
According to the police, it took them eight days to identify the body. “A post-mortem report on October 3 indicated external and internal injuries,” a police officer said.
Rumours about child-lifters have been doing the rounds in the state for more than a month and there have been several mob attacks, especially in the Belagavi region. In September, a group of sadhus from Uttar Pradesh on their way to Rameshwaram were attacked at Gokak in Belagavi district by a mob that accused them of abducting a 10-year-old boy.
Similar incidents were reported in Bailhongal, Kittur and Zunjawad K Nandagad in the district.
In 2018 a mob had killed a 26-year-old man, Kaluram, mistaking him for a child-lifter. A video of the lynching had triggered outrage then.