A man was allegedly beaten to death and another was in a critical condition after a mob attacked them late on Thursday for allegedly killing cattle in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. Satna’s Superintendent of Police Rajesh Hingankar said the slaughtered animals were bulls. He said the duo did not have previous criminal record.
On Saturday, four suspects, who were taken into custody on Friday, were produced before a local court and were sent to judicial custody.
The police said the four have admitted to the crime, and that the sticks they claimed were used to beat the duo have been seized.
The incident took place in an area under Badera police station’s jurisdiction in Satna.
The victim, Siraj Khan, who was in his forties, died before he could be taken to hospital. Shakeel Maqbool, in his thirties, is admitted in a hospital in Jabalpur and is stated to be critical.
Both came from Maihar, about 15 km from here.
According to the police, the duo were left for dead near the village, dominated by Gond tribals, before a local resident informed the police.
The accused have been identified as Pawan Singh, Narayan Singh, Phool Singh and Vijay Singh.
They have been charged with murder. The police have charged Siraj and Shakeel under relevant Sections of Madhya Pradesh’s anti cow-slaughter law.
While SP Hingankar said the duo did not have previous criminal record, Badera police station in-charge Rajendra Pathak maintained that Shakeel has a few criminal cases against him. But Pathak could not provide details.
“The villagers saw them slaughtering bulls. They got angry and attacked them,” Pathak said. The four arrested did not have any criminal background, he said.
Siraj, who has three daughters, the eldest 18, and a seven-year-old son, was a tailor by profession. On Saturday, his wife Shahidunnisa said she presumed Sajid was working, stitching clothes late into the night, when he did not return home on Thursday.
Shahidunnisa and others in the neighbourhood appeared to blame Shakeel for the incident, suggesting that he may have tricked Siraj into accompanying him. On Saturday, Shakeel’s house was found locked.
“He may or may not have done it but what right the villagers have to take law into their own hands,” Siraj’s brother-in-law Babloo Khan asked. “They should have handed them over to police.”
Shahidunnisa said the police first told them it was an accident. “The police somehow wanted to get over the episode quickly —- with a quick postmortem and quick burial,’’ Babloo Khan alleged.
The villagers have now clammed up, claiming that they did not know anything about the incident and why the police took some people in custody.
On Saturday, the situation in the village was peaceful, but still tense, and additional police personnel deployed there were withdrawn.