The probe into the December 26 murder of Assam tea planter Mridul Kumar Bhattacharya and his wife Rita by a mob took a grisly turn on Monday after police revealed some of the killers ate their flesh too.
Police found out about the cannibalism on Sunday after arresting one of 14 accused of killing Bhattacharya, 70, and his wife and burning their bodies.
What’s more, police have witnesses corroborating the act of some in the mob who were not content only with killing the duo.
“Two witnesses told us some of the killers consumed the flesh (of Bhattacharya and his wife) after killing and burning them,” inspector general of police (law and order) SN Singh said. He added that all the accused were from adjoining tea estates and would be arrested soon.
Bhattacharya was the owner of MKB Asia group that runs a handful of estates producing export-oriented organic teas. He was killed in his Kunapathar Tea Estate in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district.
On December 26, nearly 800 plantation workers had marched to Bhattacharya’s bungalow to protest the arrest of two workers. The police had taken the two into custody after Bhattacharya lodged a complaint against them for encroaching on estate land.
The situation had spiralled out of control and the mob bludgeoned the estate owner and his wife to death before setting the bungalow and two of their vehicles on fire.
Tinsukia superintendent of police PP Singh said the situation in the area was under control. “We are investigating all angles including the (possible) involvement of Maoists.”
In March 2010, violence had broken out in another tea estate owned by Bhattacharya after he allegedly shot and killed a 15-year-old school student for trespassing.