Patna, Feb. 23: A mob today pulled a murder accused out of his hospital bed, thrashed him for some 15 minutes and then dragged him on his stomach and chest, leaving the man critically injured.
Ravi, 23, was punched, kicked and attacked with sticks inside the Sadar Hospital in Bihars Hajipur, 10km from Patna, as his five armed police guards watched.
Then the young man, blood oozing from the head and writhing in pain, was dragged several yards by the nylon rope with which the police had tied his hands. The mob kept kicking and beating him all the while.
The scenes, beamed on TV, were almost a replay of similar street justice in Bhagalpur, where a suspected thief was tied to a police motorcycle and dragged 500 yards before a cheering crowd last August.
In Vaishali near Hajipur, 10 alleged thieves were lynched in September, days after three persons accused of stealing motorbikes had their eyes gouged out in Nawada in the same state.
Ravi had fatally stabbed roommate Om Prakash, 24, at their rented lodge around 6.20am today after Om had accused him of stealing his mobile phone. Both men were graduates and were preparing for competitive exams.
Other inmates of the lodge and neighbours beat Ravi up but the police rescued him and took him to hospital.
When we reached the spot, some people were beating Ravi but he made no attempt to flee, said Vijay Kumar, officer in charge of town police station.
Om was still alive but later died on his way to a Patna hospital. As news of his death spread, around 80 people gathered outside the Sadar Hospital. Five men, who had been leading the mob, dashed into the emergency ward and pulled Ravi outside.
The beating stopped after police reinforcements arrived and Ravi was sent to Patna Medical College and Hospital, where he was fighting for his life tonight. Doctors said he had internal wounds as well as serious injuries in the head and rib cage.
The Hajipur superintendent of police, Parasnath, said todays incident was unfortunate and promised to recommend the dismissal of the policemen assigned to guard Ravi in the hospital.
We are trying to identify the culprits (from the mob) through eyewitness accounts and video footage and will soon arrest them, he said.