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Four criminals beaten to death

Ranchi, Aug. 19: Four armed criminals were allegedly lynched by angry residents in two different areas of Gumla district on Monday in a reminder how people, fed up with lack of security, were taking law in their own hands.

A similar incident of assault took place in neighbouring Latehar district, where two suspected PLFI rebels became the target of public wrath. But it’s not clear whether they have died.

In the first incident, three armed criminals were trying to extort levy from businessmen at a weekly haat in Ghaghra of Gumla around 7.30pm when a crowd confronted them. As tempers ran high, the onlookers started beating up the trio till they slumped to the ground and died.

Two of the deceased have been identified as Rakesh Mahli and Pradip Lohra, both natives of Chengri village. The identity of the third one is yet to be established. A countrymade pistol and cartridges have been recovered.

Around the same time, one Pradip Shahi was accosted by three armed men while he was on his way home from the weekly market at Bharno, around 30km from Ghaghra.

Hearing Shahi’s cries, Tilsiri villagers and passers-by rushed to the spot and attacked the criminals. While two managed to escape, one was beaten to death. His identity could not be established. Police found a countrymade loaded carbine.

“As we have recovered illegal firearms from both the places, it is being perceived that the deceased were criminals. They were lynched by mobs. We are probing these cases from different angles,” said Gumla SP Bheemsen Tuti.

In Latehar, two suspected PLFI rebels — Ajay Yadav and his nephew Manoj Yadav — are believed to have been lynched at Balumath. The duo from Baghmandwa village in Herhanj police station area were allegedly involved in collecting levy from well-to-do local residents. “We have reports that they were beaten up by villagers late last evening and are not being found since then. But we cannot confirm whether they were lynched as the bodies have not been found,” said SP Michael Raj S.