Authorities pressed murder charges against five policemen on Saturday after the post-mortem report of two labourers revealed they were beaten to death allegedly after they refused to pay a bribe of Rs 100 in an Uttar Pradesh village.
The post-mortem report contradicted earlier reports that said the two men died after they jumped into a pond to escape from policemen who demanded a bribe and threatened to lodge false cases against the duo if the money wasn’t paid.
The incident comes months ahead of crucial assembly elections in the state and is expected to add to the woes of the ruling Samajwadi Party that is battling charges of shoddy law and order.
The deaths sparked tensions in Kosma village in UP’s Mainpuri district on Friday as a mob attacked the local police station, beating up personnel and dragging them on the road.
Mainpuri district magistrate PC Gupta said the post-mortem report confirmed allegations by the victims’ families that the labourers were beaten to death.
“The case that was initially registered under IPC section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against five policemen has now been changed to section 302 (murder). The cops have already been suspended,” Gupta said.
“The family members alleged in the FIR the two labourers were killed by policemen on Friday morning when they refused to pay a bribe of Rs 100.”
Labourers Dileep Yadav, 22 and Pankaj Yadav, 24, were residents of a nearby village who were on their way to Kosma when their tractor-trolley was stopped at a police check-point around 4am Friday.
The police team -- led by sub-inspector Uday Veer Singh -- allegedly demanded Rs 100 as bribe, sources said. When the two labourers refused to give the money, the cops allegedly beat them up and threatened that they would frame them in a fake case, they added.
Later, the police said that the duo had drowned in a pond in an attempt to escape. But the villagers refused to accept the claim, saying the pond was not very deep and no one could drown in it. They alleged that the policemen had thrown the bodies of the labourers into the pond after killing them.
Hours later, an angry mob attacked the local police station, leaving a constable with head injuries. Eyewitnesses said that all officers deployed at the post fled the spot. As tension mounted, heavy police force was rushed to the village to control the situation.
The two labourers were residents of Nibri village in Firozabad and were coming in a tractor-trolley carrying bricks. There were five labourers in the trolley but the other three managed to escape.