The Bihar police have set up a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the death of one Muslim man, and injuries to two other Muslim men in a mob lynching case in Gaya’s Diha village on Wednesday night.
While the family members of Muslim men have called it a “targeted killing” and “mob lynching,” the police said that there is no anti-Muslim angle that has emerged in their investigations.
A mob in Diha village in Gaya beat up Mohammed Babar (28), Ruknuddin Alam(32) and Mohammad Sajid (28) on suspicion of theft. A day later, on February 23, Babar succumbed to his injuries. Other two were critically injured. They have since been shifted to PMCH, Patna.
All three are from Kurisarai village, six kilometres from Diha.
On Thursday, local politicians and family members of the victims blocked the Gaya-Patna road at Belaganj for hours to demand arrest of the accused,. The blockade was lifted after the police announced an SIT.
The protesters also demanded ₹25 lakh in compensation and a government job for the family of Babar. CPI(ML) local leaders were active in the protest, according to reports.
The police have lodged two separate FIRs on Friday.
The first is against Babar and injured Muslim men for alleged theft and under sections of the arms act, and the second is against 17 named and 25 unidentified persons based on the complaint of Sabir Ali.
While talking to Hindustan Times, family members of the Muslim men have said the three worked in a Kolkata factory and had gone to Diha village to recruit labourers. Sabir Ali, father of Sajid said, “They had not entered the village but were attending nature’s call and chewing tobacco when some people from Diha village caught and beat them mercilessly,” he said to the newspaper.
“Where were the firearms used by the victims during alleged firing? It is a targeted attack and killing. Bomb, knife and live rounds had been put in the SUV to make a fake story of theft and to escape the case for brutal attack and killing,” said Mohammed Junaid, father of another injured Mohammed Ruknuddin said to HT.
Meanwhile, the villagers of Diha said that they saw an SUV with six people inside moving through the village carrying firearms on Wednesday night. Police said that villagers have told them they stopped the group to verify their identities, when they were allegedly fired upon. “Three youths of the group were caught and assaulted before the arrival of the police team. Three other youths managed to flee,” Hindustan Times quoted police officer as saying.