A day after a Dalit man was charred to death in a locked room in Uttar Pradesh's Hardoi district, the local police have claimed that he had set himself ablaze to escape a mob gathered outside.
This claim by the Uttar Pradesh Police is at variance with what the man stated in his dying declaration and the family's insistence that it is a case of honour killing.
In his dying declaration, Monu told police that he had gone to buy tobacco from the shop owned by the girl's family, where he was abducted and set ablaze.
Monu's mother died of shock after hearing the news.
Senior police official in Hardoi, Alok Priyadarshi, quoted the forensic findings and prima-facie evidence to claim that the man had set himself on fire.
The police officer said the Monu had gone to meet his teenage girlfriend, who was from the upper caste, and lived 200 metres from his house in the same village on Saturday night.
"The duo was caught by the girl's uncle and aunt. They locked Monu in a room before raising an alarm. This triggered mob mobilisation outside the house," he said.
Monu received severe burn injuries and was referred to Lucknow for treatment, but died on the way on Sunday.
However, the police theory flies in the face of the youth's dying declaration and contents of the FIR lodged by his family, which states that Monu was tied to a cot and then set on fire. Photographs of the cot on which Monu was burnt have been posted on the social media.
His family also claimed that the mob attack was a fallout of a property dispute.
The five accused have been charged for murder and under the SC/ST Act, but no arrests have been made yet.
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