Patna, April 28: A 22-year-old was allegedly raped and burnt alive over a property dispute at a Sitamrahi village in small hours today.
The macabre incident took place around 2.30am today at Premnagar village under Runi Saidpur police station, about 140km from here.
Five villagers, led by one Kamal Mahto, allegedly attacked the residence of fellow villager Devan Mahto around 2am.
Kamal and Devan, both from the Kushwaha community, had been engaged in a property dispute for long.
Police believe that Kamal and his four friends caught hold of Devan Mahto (70), who was sleeping outside his mud hut, and tied him up. They then broke open the fragile wooden door to the hut where the women were sleeping and dragged his wife out tying her near Devan.
Kamal and his men later got hold of Devans daughter-in-law, Pinku (name changed), beat her up and two of them allegedly raped her.
The husband of the victim, Subodh, a small-time farmer, was spending the night at his second home, barely one-and-a-half kilometres, from the scene.
Kamal and his henchmen then put bolted Pinku inside a room and set the house on fire. Neighbours, who had woken up by then, did not dare to help the family fearing Kamals wrath.
The villagers tried to extinguish the fire After Kamal and his associates left. Pinku was charred to death by then.
Vijay Jha, a resident of the village, said the officer in charge of Runi Saidpur police station, Aniruddh Prasad, reached the spot with constables only around 8am.
Over 100 villagers, incensed by the police delay, shooed away the policemen from the village and blocked NH-77 for around three hours.
The district police headquarters later suspended the officer in charge of the Runi Saidpur police station.
A case of rape, murder and arson has been registered against Kamal Mahto and five others. Sitamrahi superintendent of police Ajitabh Kumar confirmed the incident.
Earlier this month, over two dozen houses of sex workers and dancers in Sitamarhi were set ablaze reportedly by a cattle trader and his men because the trader was insulted by men from defamed community.