The Madhya Pradesh Police said on Friday that two tribal men died and a third was injured after they were allegedly assaulted by a group of 15-20 people over suspicion of cow slaughter in the state's Seoni district. Around 20 people have been booked so far, including six on charges of murder.
The incident took place at Simaria under Kurai police station limits between 2:30 am and 3 am on Monday.
Additional Superintendent of Police SK Maravi told PTI, "Two tribal men have died. It was alleged a group of 15-20 people went to the victims' house, accused them of killing a cow and assaulted them. The two men died while being taken to hospital and another sustained minor injuries. A postmortem is yet to be conducted.
"A case of murder has been registered at the Kuarai police station and police teams are searching for the accused. Some of the accused are named (in the complaint) and others are unidentified. We have taken two-three suspects into custody. Some 12 kilograms of meat has been found in the victims' house."
The complainant in the case and the Opposition Congress party have alleged the attackers belong to the Bajrang Dal.
The complainant Brajesh Batti, who was injured in the incident, said the mob was hitting Sagar resident Sampat Batti and Simaria resident Dhansa with sticks. He was also assaulted when he arrived at the spot.
After the incident, a group led by Congress legislator Arjun Singh Kakodia started a protest on the Jabalpur-Nagpur highway. The Seoni Superintendent of Police and other officials visited the protest site. Kakodia, who has been sitting on a dharna to protest the incident, claimed the attackers comprised Bajrang Dal members and called for a ban on the right-wing outfit. He said the kin of the victims should be given Rs 1 crore each and government jobs.
Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident and swift action against the culprits.
MP Congress president Kamal Nath said in a series of tweets that it has been reported that attackers were Bajrang Dal members. Mentioning previous incidents, he said, "Incidents of repression and harassment of tribal community are not stopping in the state. It emerged in earlier incidents in Nemawar, Khandwa, and Khargone that accused were associated with BJP. It's emerging in this case too that the accused have connections with the BJP."
Nath said the kin of the deceased and local residents have claimed the Bajrang Dal was involved in the incident. He added that National Crime Records Bureau data showed that MP was number one among states in crimes against tribals.
(With PTI inputs)