Three people have been arrested and charged with murder after a 29-year-old man from Manipur was beaten to death by five persons in south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur early Monday morning. The victim and the perpetrators, police claimed, were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
The drunken brawl was triggered when Akha Salouni, hailing from Manipur’s Senapati district, and two of his friends allegedly hurled abuses at the occupants of a Hyundai Verna on Nehru Road around 1am, police said.
The men in the car were demanding right of way from the driver of the autorickshaw, in which the victim – reportedly a call centre worker – and his friends were travelling, through ‘incessant honking’, police officials added.
Three of the five alleged assailants were picked out with the help of CCTV footage obtained from the crime spot and arrested by Monday evening. They have been identified as Sanjay Basoya, 24, Shakti Basoya, 21 and Rajiv alias Raju, 25. Unconfirmed reports said the absconding men were aboard another vehicle following the Verna in which the people arrested were travelling. Senior police officials refused to either confirm or deny this, terming it ‘an operational detail’.
The accused are all residents of Garhi village.
On Sunday afternoon, the police were told, Salouni, Dihe Kazhiihrii, 25, and Nagendra Sharma, 40, met at the victim’s rented accommodation in south Delhi’s Munirka, had a few drinks, and left for Masoodpur Colony to celebrate with a friend who had recently become a father.
Later that night, they hired an autorickshaw from Masoodpur, and were on their way to drop Dihe off at his home in Kotla Mubarakpur when the incident occurred.
“The men first started hitting Dihe, but he, somehow, managed to free himself from their clutches,” Nagendra Sharma told HT. “The moment Salouni tried to save Dihe, they grabbed him and began thrashing him. They relented only when he stopped moving,” he added.
“The attack seems to be well-coordinated and pre-planned. Police have already obtained some of the video footage of the incident,” minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said while visiting Salouni’s family at the AIIMS trauma centre on Monday afternoon.
The minister also expressed ‘great concern’ over the repeated cases of assault in the national capital on people hailing from the Northeast.
According to sources, the home ministry is now considering bringing changes into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make such alleged hate crimes non-bailable offences, with a minimum jail term of three years.
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