A 50-year-old man was beaten to death by a mob on suspicion of cattle smuggling in Narmadapuram district of Madhya Pradesh in the early hours of Wednesday. Two men were injured in the attack. All three are from Amravati in Maharashtra.
Lala, one of the injured men, told reporters that the deceased, Nazir Ahmed, Mushtaq, and he were transporting cattle from Nandanbada village to Amravati to sell the animals at a cattle market there.
They were waylaid on the way and attacked by a large group of people in Barakhad village of Seoni Malwa, he alleged.
“They forced us stop the vehicle and thrashed us. The beating stopped after the police arrived and we were taken to a hospital for treatment. Nazir died of his injuries,” he added.
Narmadapuram Superintendent of Police Gurkaran Singh said the incident took place around 12.30 a.m. While Lala did not specify the number of people who had assaulted them, Mr. Singh said there were 10 to 12 people in the group.
He said the victims were illegally transporting cattle.
The police have arrested four youth, all from Barakhad and neighbouring villages of Seoni Malwa, in connection with the murder and were investigating if there was any conspiracy.
“They have been identified as Gaurav Yadav, Raju Lodhi, Akash Bathaw and Akash Sarathe. They are aged between 25 and 30,” Mr. Singh said.
He added that, so far, there was no evidence of the attackers being linked to any political outfit or cow vigilante groups, but a probe was on.
Case on victims
The police have slapped a separate case on the two injured men under the Madhya Pradesh Govansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, 2004, which prohibits “illegal cow transportation”.
Contrary to Lala’s claim that they had received the animals from local villagers in Nandanbada, close to the site of the attack, the police said there was no evidence of any such transaction, and they suspected that the three men had picked up stray cattle.
Lala denied that they were taking the animals to an abattoir, and said they wanted to sell the animals at a cattle market. He added that 30 animals had been loaded on the truck. Two carcasses were also found in the vehicle.
This is the second such incident in the past three months. In May, two tribal men were lynched in Seoni district by a mob which accused them of possessing beef.