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MP Lynching: Family, Eyewitness Claim Tribals Were Thrashed in Police Presence

Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Seoni on Monday.

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Video Producer: Naman Shah, Maushumee Singh

Video Editor: Harpal Rawat

"After the police came, both Bajrang Dal members and the police first questioned one of the tribals then beat them up," said Brajesh Wati, an eyewitness and the only survivor of the three tribals who were allegedly attacked by right-wing groups over suspicions of cow slaughter.

Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh's Seoni district on Monday, 2 May, allegedly by Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena members.

Now, their kin and an eyewitness claim that the tribals were thrashed in police presence.

Another tribal, Brajesh Wati, who had gone to intervene after seeing his neighbour getting beaten up, was also thrashed, although he said he was only beaten a little as he fell to the ground.

Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Seoni on Monday.

Brajesh Wati

Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari 

Brajesh alleged that all those involved in beating the tribal men had a connection to Bajrang Dal or Ram Sena and that one of the tribals was beaten up even after the police arrived.
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"I heard the ruckus and went outside only to see that two tribals, of which one is my neighbour, were being brutally beaten by Bajrang Dal members. When I tried to intervene, I was also beaten up. They kept on beating Sampat even after the police arrived," Brajesh Wati said.

Brajesh further claimed that all the members who came to beat up Dhansha and Sampat belonged to Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena.

Meanwhile, Dhansha's daughter in law Urmila Inawati claimed that Dhansha was dragged out of their home and beaten up.

"He was first dragged out of his cot as he was sleeping. When we heard the noise, we came out of the house, and we saw a group of more than 20 men beating up our father with sticks and rods. We begged them to not beat him up, and when our mother tried to intervene, they laid their hands on her too, and she was pushed aside," said Urmila Inawati.

Following the incident, the police arrested 13 people, subsequently over 3 and 4 May. Police got four in remand for inquiry, while others were sent to jail under Sections 302 (murder) and Section 3 (2) (v) of the SC-ST act of the Indian Penal Code.

The Men Were Allegedly Taken to Hospital Only After Health of One Deteriorated

The district police claim they rushed to the spot after they got the information and took the injured victims to the hospital.

However, Brajesh, the eyewitness, told The Quint that not only were they beaten up in police presence, but the police took them to the Badalpur police outpost first. It was only after the condition of one tribal deteriorated that the police rushed them to the hospital.

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Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Seoni on Monday.

Contradictory Claims by Police

While Umesh Joga, Inspector General, Jabalpur range, claimed that the allegations of the accused belonging to Bajrang Dal and other right-wing groups couldn't be verified and were under investigation, the Kurai police station in-charge GS Uikey, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, made different claims.

"We can't verify whether those arrested were associated with any group. Our prime focus now is to ensure that the deceased get justice. We are not concerned whether those involved belonged to any group or not," Umesh Joga said.

However, the Kurai police station in-charge, GS Uikey, told the media that of the total 13 arrested in the case, three belonged to the Bajrang Dal, while six were members of Ram Sena.

Talking to The Quint, Bajrang Dal's Seoni district coordinator Devendra Sen accepted that those involved in the incident were members of Bajrang Dal and other groups. However, he denied beating up any tribals.

"Local members of our Bajrang Dal had caught the tribals with cow meat and then informed the police. There are videos where, in police presence, the tribals could be seen without any harm. We are being framed," Devendra Sen said.

In a video statement, Ram Sena's province president Shubham Singh said that his organisation was involved in catching the tribals. However, he, too, denied any violence and said:

"Our members called the police station, and when the police came, they handed over the cow meat and the tribals safely to them. But we don't know what happened to them when they were taken to the police station, and later, they died," Shubham Singh said.

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Victims' Kin Demand Capital Punishment

Talking to The Quint, Foolwati Inawati, wife of the deceased Dhansha Inawati, said that his husband was dragged out from his sleep and was beaten up by Bajrang Dal members and demanded capital punishment for the accused.

Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Seoni on Monday.

Foolwati Inawati

Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari 

"My husband was dragged out by the Bajrangi goons and beaten up. We were both sleeping here. Those who did this, those who killed him, should be hanged. Their house should be bulldozed too," Foolwati said.

Mattho Bai, wife of the other deceased, Sampat Wati, too, accused Bajrang Dal members of the death of her husband and said that she wouldn't back down so that this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Dhansha Inawati and Sampat Wati, two tribal men, were lynched over suspicions of cow slaughter in Seoni on Monday.

Mattho Bai

Photo: Vishnukant Tiwari 

"We won't take compensation. We are not greedy, but I will fight till they are punished. Because if I back down today, this might happen to someone else tomorrow. I won't back down," Mattho Bai said.

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