Two tribal men were allegedly lynched by a group of about 16-18 persons on suspicion of cow slaughter and beef smuggling in Simaria village of Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. Another youth was injured in the incident.
The accused are connected to the right wing outfit Bajrang Dal, the state units of Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) have alleged, and demanded immediate arrest of the accused. MP Congress chief Kamal Nath sought a high-level probe into the incident and help for the families of the victims.
Enraged residents of Simaria and surrounding villages blocked the Jabalpur-Nagpur national highway on Tuesday afternoon, demanding arrest of the accused. Barghat Congress MLA Makodia also joined the blockade, which was removed only later in the evening after three of the accused were arrested.
Sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP) of Barghat, Shashikant Saryam, confirmed to THE WEEK that three of the accused who were named in the FIR have been arrested, and the blockade had been called off. However, he could not immediately give the names of arrested accused or confirm reports that about 12 kg of meat had been confiscated from the spot by the police. The officer said probe was underway and he had been busy with hospitalising of victims and the protest situation.
According to the information available, victims Dhansa (54) and Sampat Batti (60) were beaten up in Simaria village under Kurai police station at around 3am on Tuesday, allegedly on the suspicion that they slaughtered cow and smuggled the meat. Another youth, Brijesh, whose house is near the spot of incident was also roughed up badly when he tried to intervene. Later, police arrived at the spot and shifted the three injured to hospital. Dhansa and Sampat succumbed early on Tuesday morning.
The Congress and CPI(M) have accused the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh of shielding the accused as they were linked to Bajrang Dal.
Kamal Nath took up the incident in a series of tweets. He said, “Received very saddening information of brutal killing of two tribal men in Kurai of Seoni district. Another youth is badly injured. Families of the victims and the local people have said the accused are linked to the Bajrang Dal. The oppression and excesses with tribal people in Madhya Pradesh is not stopping. We have already seen incidents in Nemawar, Khargone and Khandwa. Earlier too, there has been information of the accused (in the earlier cases) being linked with the BJP. In this case too, connection of the accused with the BJP is coming to the fore. According to NCRB data, Madhya Pradesh tops the chart in the country in violence against scheduled tribe people. I demanded that the government announce a high-level probe into the incident and take stern action against the accused.”
State secretary of CPI(M) Jaswinder Singh said FIRs against six named accused and 10 unknown accused have been registered, but police are not taking any action due to political pressure, as the accused are linked to the ruling party.
Singh said according to the police complaint lodged by the Brajesh, a group of 16-18 people, including Sher Singh Rathod, Ajay Sahu, Vedant Chouhan, Deepak Awadhia, Basant Raghuwanshi and Raghunandan Raghuwanshi linked to Bajrang Dal were beating up Dhansa and Sampat behind his (Brajesh’s) house accusing the two of slaughtering cows. When he reached the spot, he too was beaten up. Later, Dhansa and Sampat succumbed to injuries in hospital at around 6.00am on Tuesday.
“Tribal people are protesting against the terror and murderous campaign of Bajrang Dal in united manner and yet police is not arresting the main accused. We condemn the brutal killing and demand immediate arrest of the accused,” he said.