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Gaya murder: Protests over suspected lynching; police forms SIT to probe case

ByPrasun K Mishra
Feb 24, 2023 04:19 PM IST

Police officials said they have so far lodged two separate FIRs in the case, and while they have said that there is no communal angle that has emerged in their investigations

The Bihar police have set up a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the death of one Muslim man, and injuries to two others in an alleged mob lynching case in Gaya’s Diha village in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Calling it an incident of mob lynching, angry family members took to the streets and blocked the main road at Belaganj. (Representative image)

Police officials said they have so far lodged two separate FIRs in the case, and while they have said that there is no communal angle that has emerged in their investigations, the family members of the victims have called it a “targeted killing.”

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According to the one version of events put forth by villagers of Diha, late on Wednesday night running into early Thursday morning, they saw an SUV with six people inside moving through the village carrying firearms. Police officials said that villagers have told them they stopped the group to verify their identities, when they were allegedly fired upon.

“Three youths of the group were caught and assaulted before the arrival of the police team. Three other youths managed to flee.”

Also Read:Six weeks on, four booked for Ludhiana kidnapping suspect’s lynching

The three injured were then taken to the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College hospital in Gaya where Mohammed Babar (28) was declared dead while two others, Ruknuddin Alam(32) and Mohammad Sajid (28) were critically injured. They have since been shifted to PMCH, Patna.

“We have recovered an explosive, bullets and a dagger from the SUV. Alam and Sajid have some previous criminal cases but Babar has no criminal case against him,” a senior police officer said, requesting anonymity.

However, family members of the victims have rubbished this theory, and said the three worked in a Kolkata factory and had gone to Diha village to recruit labourers. Sabir Ali, father of Sajid said, “They had not entered the village but were attending nature’s call and chewing tobacco when some people from Diha village caught and beat them mercilessly,” he said.

All three are from Kurisarai village, six kilometres from Diha.

The police have lodged two separate FIRs on Friday, SSP Gaya Ashish Bharti said.

The first is against the deceased and injured for alleged theft and under sections of the arms act, and the second is against 17 named and 25 unidentified persons based on the complaint of Sabir Ali.

On Thursday, local politicians and family members of the victims blocked the Gaya-Patna road at Belaganj for hours to demand arrest of the accused, and 25 lakh in compensation and a government job for the family of Babar. The blockade was lifted after the police announced an SIT.

“Where were the firearms used by the victims during alleged firing? It is a targeted attack and killing. Bomb, knife and live rounds had been put in the SUV to make a fake story of theft and to escape the case for brutal attack and killing,” said Mohammed Junaid, father of another injured Mohammed Ruknuddin.

The CPI (ML) district secretary Niranjan Kumar said that the stringent action must be taken against the members of the “mob”.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Ashish Bharti said the SIT is being led by an ASP rank officer. “We are probing all angles,” he said.

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