A 35-year-old man linked to a right-wing cow vigilante group was attacked with sharp-edged weapons and then shot dead by a group of men in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district, the police said on Saturday. The incident was caught on video by a witness on his cellphone.
Ravi Vishwakarma, the district in-charge of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad "gau raksha" wing, was returning from Hoshangabad with two others in a car on Friday when the incident took place in Pipariya town, around 150 km from Bhopal, the police said.
"A group of men attacked Vishwakarma and two others in the car with sharp-edged weapons. They then shot two rounds, one of which hit Vishwakarma in the chest, killing him on the spot. The other two also received injuries. The attackers fled," police officer Satish Andhwan told news agency PTI.
"We have registered a case against 10 people and efforts are on to catch them. It may be a fallout of an old enmity between Vishwakarma and the attackers. He was the district in charge of the VHP's gau raksha wing," the official added.
In the video of the incident, six to eight men, some of them with their faces covered with towels and scarves are seen first attacking the car near a bridge. A woman is heard coaxing the man recording the video to leave the area.
Ravi Vishawakarma District president Gau Raksha wing was shot dead in Pipariya @VHPDigital says it was a pre planned murder @DGP_MP registered a case and efforts are on to nab the accused @ndtvindia@ndtv@RSSorg@INCIndia#PostponeneetJee#SushanthSinghRajput#chinaindiaborderpic.twitter.com/hJWdLbpyyx— Anurag Dwary (@Anurag_Dwary) June 27, 2020
The assailants who are seen wielding rods break the windows of the car and then force two men accompanying the VHP leader to come out of the car. The men then shoot into the car with a pistol and pull out Vishwakarma and beat him with rods to make sure he is dead.
A functionary of the VHP in area Gopal Soni told PTI that it was a planned murder. "Vishwakarma was working for the protection of cows as district chief of VHP's gau raksha wing. His killing should be probed thoroughly," Mr Soni said.
Cow slaughter is illegal in most of India and several vigilante groups take to enforcing the law themselves, often violently.
(With inputs from PTI)