A 26-year-old man was allegedly beaten and then set ablaze by four men over a land-related enmity in Nauhta area of Simri Jalam village in Damoh district on Saturday evening.
The man-- identified as Ashok Sahu -- was rushed to the Damoh district hospital but he succumbed to the burn injuries a few hours later during treatment.
Sahu’s dying declaration was recorded by the police on the basis of which, a case of murder was registered against four accused under Section 302 of IPC.
According to Nahuta police station in charge SK Nayak, Sahu was set on fire by four accused -- Devendra Lodhi, Kanchedi, Dinnu, Aman -- after an argument.
None of the accused, however, has been arrested.
Sahu’s mother Sada Rani alleged that a few years ago, a powerful man from the village -- Hera Thakur-- had captured their land citing an old loan taken from him.
But despite Sahu and his family having repaid the private loan, Hera and his men refused to vacate their land, she said.
“At times we begged Hera to return our land but he drove us away. My youngest son Ashok - who worked in Pune -- had recently come here and on Saturday, he went to Hera Thakur and requested that the land be vacated. A heated argument ensued but soon after my son returned home, the four accused -- Devendra, Kanchedi (Hera’s son), Dinnu, Aman – came and dragged Ashok out of the house,” said Sada Rani.
“Ashok was beaten brutally by the four accused who then poured kerosene on him before setting him ablaze. The accused fled the spot later,” she added.