A Dalit farmer was killed following a dispute over plucking of a few tomatoes from his farm snowballed into a confrontation in Samastipur district of north Bihar.
The incident took place on Monday at Dakshini Dumri village under Mohanpur police outpost in Patori sub-division about 65km north of Patna.
Patori sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Rajendra Singh said the farmer, identified as Dinesh Paswan, was badly assaulted and then shot in the leg by the relatives of a boy who had plucked a handful of tomatoes from his farm on Sunday. Paswan had slapped the boy a few times for his misconduct.
"In retaliation, the relatives of the boy and their associates accosted Paswan on Monday morning, beat him black and blue and finally shot him in the leg," Singh told HT on Monday evening.
He said after shooting Paswan the assailants fled from the scene leaving him bleeding.
"It was only when the police reached the spot that the victim was rushed to a hospital at Mohanpur a few kilometres from the village," he stated.
Paswan was pronounced dead at around 5pm on Monday at the hospital owing to excessive loss of blood.
The SDPO said an FIR had been registered against eight persons on the basis of the statement given by farmer's widow.
"As I speak, raids are being conducted to nab the accused. We should have some or all of them in hand very soon."
"The total value of the tomatoes plucked from Paswan's field could not be more than a few rupees. It is a shame he lost his life over something of such little value," the SDPO said.