A 24-year-old man was robbed, stripped, tortured and beaten by a 200-strong mob, allegedly for cattle smuggling, at a village in Haryana over the weekend. The police, which came to rescue him, kept him chained inside the police station for nearly a day without any food, water or medical treatment, the man told NDTV. The police have denied his allegations.
A case has also been registered against him for cattle smuggling, said Naushad Mohammad, a resident of Uttar Pradesh who had gone to Rohtak on Saturday to buy cattle for farming. In the evening, while he was on his way home with three buffaloes, a mob caught up with his truck at Bhalaut, a village 95 km from Delhi.
"They stripped me and burned my lips and ears with cigarette butts. Then they dragged me over the road and tied me to a pillar," Naushad Mohammad told NDTV.
The mob even snatched away the cash he was carrying, Rs 2000. "Then they started beating me with sticks, some threw stones and even shoes," he said.
Horrific cellphone images from the spot showed the Mr Mohammad sitting tied to a pole and being beaten. One of his attackers even posed with him. The man, identified as Jaspal Gummama, has been named as main accused in the case.
The torture went on for two hours till the police, tipped off by someone, came. Even when the police tried to take him away, the crowd continued beating and kicking him, he said.
But he found no relief at the police station, where he was kept chained to a bed. Even though he was in great pain, they would not release him or get him any medical help, he said. All he was offered for nearly 16 hours was a cup of tea, he said.
Mr Mohammad said he was released from chains the next afternoon when activists held protests outside the police station. He was allowed to go only on Monday night.
"We found him chained at the police station and clicked the photos, and he was released only when we intervened," activist Preet Singh told NDTV.
The local police, however, have denied all allegations.
An officer of the Sadar police station, Manjit More said Naushad Mohammad was released on Saturday evening and the photographs showing him chained were not of his police station.
Senior officers have formed a special investigation team to look into the mob attack. A case has been filed against 12 persons for the attack, though no arrest has been made. Jaspal Gummama, prime accused in the case, is roaming free, the police claim they haven't been able to trace him.
"I was not involved in the attack, though I thought he was smuggling cattle and informed the locals. I wanted the matter to be resolved legally," he said when NDTV met him at the godown where he works.
A case of cattle smuggling and another under Prevention of Cruelty to animals have also been filed against Naushad Mohammad and two other men.
This is the second such incident this year. On January 3, a 55-year-old man, Kabul Miyan. was beaten to death in Araria district in Bihar, around 300 km from the state capital Patna.