Sana Akbar and Fatema Khan
A Muslim youth was allegedly beaten to death over suspicion of theft in Chhaigoan Devi village, falling under the jurisdiction of Chhaingoan Makhan police station in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.
The victim, Sheikh Firoz, was found in an unconscious state in a drainage channel on Sunday morning and was immediately taken to the district hospital, where he passed away during treatment.
Firoz hailed from Khanshawali, Khandwa.
DSP Headquarters, Anil Singh, confirmed that the victim had multiple stab wounds and bruises all over his body.
Firoz had several cases of theft registered against him in different police stations and was associated with other accused, which could be a possible motive for the attack, the police said. The police have initiated an investigation into the case.
According to a report by Bhaskar.com, Firoz was caught stealing chickpeas and was brutally attacked by eight to ten local residents. The report claimed that the locals were already on high alert due to a rise in thefts in the area. The residents observed three suspicious individuals entering the village around midnight, out of which two managed to flee, and one was apprehended and lynched.
One of Firoz’s relatives, who wished to remain anonymous, said to Makhtoob that the lynching was carried out by Chatter Patel, the former panchayat president of Surgaon Village in Khandwa, and his followers. Upon learning that Firoz was Muslim, they beat him mercilessly until he lost consciousness and then threw him in the drainage channel.
Firoz’s mother, seeking justice for her son, claims that he was lynched by the locals. She has refused to carry out his final rites until the assailants are apprehended. The victim’s body has been sent for a postmortem examination.
A video shows the deceased’s family members and community members are staging a protest by placing the corpse in front of the Moghat police station.
Khandwa and its neighboring areas were affected by anti-Muslim violence last year, and recent incidents of hate crimes against Muslims have been reported in the region.