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MP lynching: Village sarpanch among 3 held; 6 cops suspended

MP lynching: Village sarpanch among 3 held; 6 cops suspended

Dhar/Bhopal: Three persons, including a village sarpanch, were arrested on Thursday for allegedly being part of a violent mob that killed a man and injured six others on suspicion of being child-lifters in Madhya Pradesh, while policemen, too, faced action for dereliction of duty.

Six policemen, including the Manavar police station in charge in Dhar district, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, were suspended for negligence in duty, an official said.

A 35-year-old man, Ganesh Patel, was lynched while six of his friends were seriously injured on Wednesday when a group of local residents attacked them amid rumours that a gang of child-lifters was on the prowl in Baroli village, around 60km from Dhar town, police have said.

All seven were farmers.

Three persons, including a village sarpanch, were arrested in connection with the mob attack and charged with murder, police said.

They were identified by the police only as Ramesh, Satya and Galyan.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath's media coordinator Narendra Singh Saluja claimed Ramesh, the sarpanch of Junapani village, is a BJP worker.

However, the police have not yet confirmed this.

The two others arrested in the case are residents of Bhutia village, Dhar district's superintendent of police (SP) Aditya Pratap Singh said.

Six policemen - the Manawar police station in-charge, a sub-inspector, an assistant sub-inspector and three constables - were suspended on charges of negligence in duty, he said.

A special investigative team (SIT), headed by additional superintendent of police Devendra Patidar, has been constituted to probe the matter and the arrested accused have been booked for murder, the SP said.

Meanwhile, Saluja claimed the opposition BJP is politicising the issue despite the fact that it's own party worker had "incited" people to attack the victims.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath termed the incident as "very unfortunate" and added that such things cannot be tolerated.

Nath directed the administration to thoroughly probe the incident and take stern action against the culprits.

The incident has drawn sharp criticism from all quarters with former BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleging that the Nath-led Congress government had made the state "Talibani".

"People are being beaten and stoned to death. The incident is unfortunate as those killed had given prior information to the police that they are going to recover their money in the village, as they faced threat over there, but police remained asleep," he claimed.

Speaking to reporters, state BJP president Rakesh Singh said, "If anyone is responsible for this incident, it is the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh."

Asked about the Congress claim that one of the accused is a BJP worker, Singh said, "Crime is crime. A criminal can't be spared even if he belongs to a particular political party.

But the Congress cannot shirk its responsibility by pointing out one person from a mob of 500. Will this end crime?"

On Wednesday, the victims, farmers hailing from Indore and Ujjain, had gone to Baroli village, around 60km from Dhar town, in two cars to recover money from some local farm labourers when they were attacked. The farm labourers had spread rumours that the seven men were child-lifters to avoid returning the money they had taken as advance from one of the victims, police have said.

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