Three brothers, Bir Singh, Prakash and Ram Kishan, are the prime accused in the case. Family members, however, say that another two dozen villagers also participated in the beating of alleged thief. “Would you not retaliate if someone comes to steal in your house?” says Santra Devi the wife of accused Bir Singh.
In the courtyard of the house, where the lynching took place, half a dozen calves and buffaloes are still tied up even as villagers come to make inquiries and even show solidarity. Balesh, wife of another accused Ramkishan, narrated her version of the incident. “Around 3.30 am on Friday, 3 thieves were trying to cut the mosquito nets under which the cattle were kept. Our husbands woke up and tried to catch them. Two escaped, but we caught hold of one of them,” Balesh added. The unidentified victim was then tied up and beaten by the gathered mob during hours. “When we called the police around 5am, he was still alive. Police arrived around 7.00am but didn’t take him to hospital. Doctors arrived later and it was only around 9am that the body was taken away from here,” Santra Devi claimed.
Naresh Kumar, a neighbor who works at a car-wash in Faridabad, said that he only came to know about the incident in the morning. “By the time I reached, the man was already dead. Crowd had beaten him blue and there were marks of his hands and legs being tied.”
The Gujjar-dominated village of Bahrola has around 150-200 families whose primary occupation is farming and cattle rearing. The anger at cattle thieves and police inaction is palpable. “So many gangs of cattle thieves are operating in the area. There have been three thefts in the last 10 days alone. If police do nothing, what do you expect villagers to do?” says Suman Devi, another villager. Villagers claimed that similar cases of cattle thefts were happening in neighboring villages of Phulwari, Silouthi and Bamni khera.
“Similar pattern was seen during these months in last year. Cattle thieves, wearing knickers and soaked in oil, get active as soon as crops attain a certain height. Calls to police always go unanswered,” said Jeet Ram, another villager whose cattle were stolen 8 days back.
‘Internal bleeding in the intestine’, and ‘shock and hemorrhage’ have been identified as the cause of death in the initial post mortem report and the deceased has received 15 major internal injuries, investigative officer Suresh Kumar said. “He seems an outsider and not from this region. There was no identity document on him. We have issued his pictures in newspapers. Hopefully we will get some clue soon,” Kumar added. He denied allegations that police reached the spot late.
SHO Sadar police station Devender Singh said police had ruled out the case to be a religiously motivated crime. “One accused is under custody and we will soon nab other two,” Kumar added.