Ranchi, Dec. 23: Twelve people have so far been arrested in connection with the lynching of five men following a dispute over stone mining in Manho village yesterday, with the police continuing to probe if the victims were also targeted for eve teasing.
Mahendra Lal Prasad, a stone mine owner, his son Prem Prasad, 17, nephew Pappu, 23, Ram Nayak, 18, and Suraj Mahto, 30, were beaten to death with stones, sticks and traditional weapons by a mob.
Khunti SP Amar Nath Mishra ruled out the involvement of any rebels in the incident.
ďSuraj Mahto and his associates were notorious for their criminal past. They had antagonised local residents with socially unacceptable conduct. Whether they also harassed the women working in the stone crusher unit is being investigated,Ē Mishra added.
Villagers had complained about eve teasing against the victims, but police maintained that the reason behind the attack was a dispute over mining.
In an FIR lodged by the deceased Mahtoís brother Krishna, 16 persons were named accused. Another 20 unidentified people also figure in the list of accused. The SP, however, said that over 100 people were involved in the lynching.
Meanwhile, two rebels, Sirka Pahan and Babloo Pahan, were held yesterday evening at Pirhatu village in Murhu police station area of Khunti. The police also seized Rs 2.15 lakh in cash and Maoist literature from the two.
In another incident, Simdega police today arrested four PLFI rebels involved in the killing of local BJP leader Saryu Yadav on November 15.