Four unidentified men from Chhattisgarh who had allegedly come to Koraput to buy ganja were mistaken for kidnappers and beaten to death by locals on Wednesday night. Their vehicles were torched and another youth was injured in the incident. The bodies and torched vehicles were found by the police on the Jeypore-Koraput road early Thursday morning.
Koraput SP Charan Singh Meena told The Indian Express four men from Chhattisgarh had driven to Koraput in a safari and were beaten to death by locals over rumours that they were kidnappers who had come to pick up their children. “Though there was no police complaint, the locals somehow suspected that a gang from Chhattisgarh was out to abduct their children. They were beaten to death between 11 pm and 3.30 am,” he said. Some stones were found near the bodies. The deceased were in the age group of 30-40 years.
Police said the deceased were allegedly waiting to collect 1.5 quintals of ganja near the Jeypore-Koraput highway.
They were being escorted by two youths on a motorcycle allegedly to the place from where they were to collect ganja.
“When they entered a village called Nuaput, they were confronted by angry villagers. The locals first beat up one of the two motorcycle-borne youths while the other one managed to escape. The four men ran to Balia, a neighbouring village. However the villagers of Nuaput had already alerted people in Balia about four men coming to abduct their children. At Balia, the four were mercilessly beaten to death,” said the Koraput SP.
Bhagaban Nayak, one of the youths who was injured in the attack, told the police that he was dumbfounded when people armed with blunt weapons stopped them. “They were accusing us of being child kidnappers. But before I could say anything I was thrashed severely,” he said.
The youth who managed to flee alerted the police but before the police could reach the spot the men had been killed.
The cops recovered around 1.5 quintals of ganja from one of the vehicles. Police said around 70 people from Balia have been detained over the incident and are being interrogated.