A 45-year-old man died in hospital after a vicious assault by five men at his home in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday evening, allegedly over rumours. The incident has emerged a day after the mob-killing of a murder accused in another part of the state.
Opposition parties claim the assault on Sarvesh Diwakar, who is from the Scheduled Caste community, was carried out by right-wing activists. The police have, however, denied this.
Mr Diwakar used to sell confectionary on a cart and had been living in a rented home in western UP's Mainpuri along with his 16-year-old daughter who used to work as a domestic help and also study at a local school. A few days ago Mr Diwakar had sent away his daughter to live with relatives, reportedly because both of them were out of work due to the Covid pandemic and were finding it difficult to survive because of extreme poverty.
A rumour started circulating in the area that the man had sold his daughter. The police said their probe has not established that the assault was based on these rumours.
Footage of the assault shot from a distance shows five men kicking and slapping Mr Diwakar on the terrace of his home as he appears to beg for mercy; the assault does not stop even after he falls to the ground and appears motionless.
The Samajwadi Party shared a clip of the incident and named a right-wing group it alleged was involved in the incident.
मैनपुरी का यह वीडियो सामने आया है जहां बजरंग दल के कार्यकर्ताओं द्वारा कचौड़ी का ठेला लगाने वाले दलित युवक सर्वेश दिवाकर की लिंचिंग कर हत्या कर दी गई।- Samajwadi Party (@samajwadiparty) September 7, 2020
दोषी बजरंग दल के कार्यकर्ताओं पर कड़ी कार्रवाई करे सरकार। @dgpuppic.twitter.com/H4xdLzNgWT
BSP chief Mayawati also tweeted about the incident and claimed that the rising cases of shooting, killings in the state "are very sad".
"Yesterday in UP, Sarvesh Kumar, a Dalit, was beaten to death in Mainpuri and similarly Gobind Chauhan in Maharajganj, Rajveer Maurya in Shahjahanpur, Wasid in Bareilly, Sudhir Singh in Kushinagar and Vinod Garg (Brahmin) in Banda. Incidents of shooting, killing etc. are very sad," Mayawati tweeted.
But in a statement issued on Monday, the local police denied any groups were involved. "The police had reached the spot and taken the man to hospital. He died there at the district hospital. We immediately took cognizance of the video and have arrested four of the five men seen in it. We have not established any connection of the accused men to any outfit so far. In the eyes of the law they are mere criminals. Please do not spread rumours," the Mainpuri police said in a statement.
The statement did not name the men or explain how they managed to carry out such a brazen attack on Mr Diwakar.
On Monday, a man accused of murder was beaten to death in the presence of policemen in Kushinagar in eastern UP.
The police station in-charge in the area has been suspended for negligence.