One farmer has died and five others have been hospitalized - four of them are critical - after they were attacked by hundreds of villagers on the suspicion of being child-lifters in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district on Wednesday afternoon.
The farmers, who were in two cars, were chased for about 25 kilometres by villagers of Khirakia and Junapani and assaulted in Borlai village, police said. One of the cars was also burnt by the mob that attacked the farmers with lathis and big boulders.
"The victims had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to three labour contractors based in Khirkiya village under Tirla police station of Dhar district recently for hiring agricultural labour, but the contractors didn't supply the promised labour. The contractors returned Rs 1 lakh to the farmers and asked the farmers to come to Khirkiya village for getting the outstanding Rs 1.5 lakh. When the six farmers reached the Khirkiya village, they were attacked in a pre-planned manner by the contractors and aides," Dhar district police superintendent Aditya Pratap Singh said.
"The six farmers after being attacked with stones escaped in their vehicles from Khirkiya village, but when they reached Borlai village (around 30 km from Khirkiya village) their cars got stuck in traffic jam. The accused who were chasing the fleeing farmers also reached the Borlai villages and spread the rumour that the six men were fleeing after lifting kids from Khirkiya village. Provoked by the rumour the mob of villagers attacked the six men in two cars with stones and rods," Mr Singh added.
The farmer killed by the mob has been identified as Ganesh Khasi. Four of the other victims were from Limba Piplia village in Ujjain. Three accused from Khirakia village - Avtar Singh, Bhuvaan Singh and Jaam Singh - have been booked for the murder and assault, apart from 10-15 other unnamed persons.
The videos also shows the insensitivity and the inactivity of the police personnel as in one of the videos the on-duty cops can be seen trying to ascertain the condition of the badly injured farmers by touching their bodies with green coloured pipes and doing nothing, while the mob of villagers attack the downed shutters of a shop in which the farmers are possibly hiding.