A Dalit man and his brother were mercilessly beaten up and their hut was burnt allegedly by a group of almost 15 men in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district, police said. The family was attacked because they allegedly refused to withdraw a two-year-old police case.
The case pertains to a 2018 dispute between complainant Sandeep Dohare's brother - Santram Dohare - and accused Pavan Yadav over difference in wage payment. The police had charged the accused using sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Yadav family wanted his case withdrawn and had been pressuring Santram Dohare, but he refused.
This angered Pavan Yadav whose family reportedly beat up the Dalit man and his brother Sandeep with rifle butts, and set their house ablaze around 2pm on Saturday.
The accused have been identified as Pavan Yadav, Kallu Yadav, their four relatives and a neighbour. They reportedly arrived at Mr Dohare's house with a group of 10-12 men on five motorcycles.
They reportedly barged into Mr Dohare's house and started beating up the brothers with rifles and axes, and set the house on fire. They also reportedly fired shot in the air hearing which some villagers came out of their houses and torched three of the five bikes. The accused then fled with the remaining bikes.
The villagers called the police who rushed the injured men to the nearest hospital, from where they were referred to the district hospital because of the seriousness of their injuries.
Earlier this year in January, a 24-year-old Dalit man died after being burnt alive by four of his neighbours in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar city. The accused were forcing the man to take back a police complaint he had filed after a dispute with them, the police said.
The case had become a political flashpoint between the BJP and Congress, which was then in power in Madhya Pradesh.