Agitated over the death of an ex-serviceman over a property dispute between two families, a mob of over 250 went on a rampage in Bassi Wajid village, 24 km from the city, on Wednesday and set the house of the 19-year-old man accused of murdering the 65-year-old on fire. The mob also set ablaze the bicycles of two cops stationed at the house and also thrashed the policemen. They also set ablaze a Rhino Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a tractor parked in front of the house.
On Tuesday evening, Hakumat Rai (65) had died in his home after an altercation with Mandip Singh (19) and his parents — Ranjit Kaur and Amrik Singh. The two families have been involved in a long-running property dispute.
Even as the police were in the process of registering a case, an enraged mob strode towards Mandip’s house on the outskirts of the village and set it on fire.
Rai’s family and the sarpanch have claimed that they had nothing to do with the mob.
“They could be outsiders,” claimed sarpanch Sardari Lal adding that he had warned the police of unrest after the ‘murder’ and requested for deployment of more force. “The rioting and the arson could have been averted had the police taken more precaution,” he claimed.
Rai’s son Naresh Kumar alleged that his father was manhandled and attacked with rods that led to his death. The accused Mandip’s grandfather Darshan Singh, who claims to have been injured and admitted to a hospital, claimed it was Mandip who had been waylaid by the opposite party and beaten up.
“We had gone to Hakumat’s house to save him, but we were also manhandled,” Darshan claimed.
Superintendent of police (detective) Kulwant Singh added that Mandip Singh, his grandfather Darshan Singh; Amrik Singh and Darshan Kaur — the parents of Mandip — had been booked under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. “All four have been arrested. We have also launched a manhunt for those who led the mob,” he said.
A case has also been registered against unidentified people under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) of the Indian Penal Code.