Angry villagers in Muzaffarnagar on Tuesday called for a mahapanchayat on October 10 to discuss the yet-unsolved murder of three people, bringing back memories of communal riots in the area a year ago.
The mutilated bodies of three labourers were found on the outskirts of Bahadurpur village on Saturday night but the police failed to even identify suspects in the last three days. Though six police teams have been created and a massive manhunt launched, no arrests have been made till date.
The incident has led to widespread panic in the district amid reports of armed strangers present in the area.
Communal riots in the area in September last year that claimed more than 60 lives and left over 50,000 homeless saw similar mahapanchayats fanning communal tension. Several people were attacked last year while leaving one such gathering called to discuss the alleged murder of two youth and police inaction.
The bodies of Surender (38), Sunder (28) and Kunwarpal (43) were found with severe injuries in the groin area. Sources in the district hospital where the postmortem was performed said blunt instruments and bricks were used to kill the trio.
In spite of growing criticism, however, the police remained tightlipped over the investigation. “We can’t share findings since it could hamper the investigation,” said Shravan Kumar, SP (city) of Muzaffarnagar.
Additional forces have been deployed outside the village to reassure panicked villagers who are moving in groups to avoid criminals.
Two of the victims, Surender and Kunwarpal, were labourers in a factory situated close to the village and were attacked while returning home. “He was mercilessly attacked and we couldn’t recognize him,” said Surender’s brother Suresh.
The third victim Sunder was a driver who was also killed on his way home. His body was found a few metres away from the other two.
The police initially suspected robbery to be the motive behind the murders but later found that Sunder’s salary of Rs 8,000 hadn’t been taken from his pocket.
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(With inputs from Vasistha Bhardwaj)