Durgapur, Nov. 18: A youth said to be mentally ill was allegedly beaten to death by security guards at an Eastern Coalfields workshop in Kulti this morning after he failed to pay a bribe to them.
Kundan Nunia, 22, had entered the maintenance workshop at 6am to use a toilet there when the guards accused him of stealing machinery and demanded money from him, the youths cousin, Anil, alleged.
When he failed to pay the money, they beat him to death, Anil, 30, said. Anil accused the guards of being in league with local scrap-iron smugglers who steal machinery from the workshop.
Over 200 local residents gheraoed workshop manager Jayanta Sen for eight hours demanding the arrest of the culprits. They dispersed at 4pm after police assured them their demand would be considered.
Kundans mother Purnima said: My son was mentally unstable. He often acted like a child. He could not be a thief. The guards killed him.
Sen, however, claimed Kundan was part of a gang that had entered the workshop to steal machinery. Our guards chased the gang away but one of the thieves fell down while scaling the boundary wall and died, Sen said.