A 28-year-old man who had gone missing during the communal clashes in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone city on April 10 was on Monday declared as the first casualty of the violence by the district administration, The Indian Express reported.

Ibraish Khan’s family identified his body at Indore’s MY Hospital. The family members alleged a cover-up by the police. They claimed that his body was kept at the government hospital for eight days without informing them.

A murder case has been registered against seven to eight unidentified persons and further investigation is underway, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on Monday, according to News 18. The district administration will give a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to Khan’s family.

Superintendent of Police Rohit Kashwani said that a day after the violence, the police had found an injured man in Kapas Mandi area of Khargone, The Indian Express reported. He was taken to the district government hospital, but he died after being admitted and the police was unable to identify him, the police officer added.

Kashwani said that Khan died due to serious injuries to his head caused by stones, PTI reported. The police claimed that the body was kept in Indore after postmortem examination due to lack of freezer facilities in Khargone.

“We were told by the supervisor of Kapas Mandi that his guard Kamal Salve had heard a group of men brutally beating up another man in Kapas Mandi,” Kashwani told The Indian Express. “The guard told us that the men kept saying, ‘maaro isko maaro’ [hit him, hit him], but soon after they heard police sirens, they all ran away.”

The police said they did not find any information about the man despite checking CCTV camera footage of the spot where Khan was assaulted.

A first information report was registered under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code on April 14 at Khargone’s Kotwali police station, The Indian Express reported.

On the same day, Khan’s family had filed a missing person’s complaint.

What the family claims

The victim’s brother Ikhlaq Khan said that the police did not disclose Ibraish’s whereabouts even after the family filed a complaint, PTI reported.

He also alleged that his brother was seen in police custody on April 12. The police informed the family about Ibraish’s death and whereabouts of his body only after he threatened to inform the media, alleged Ikhlaq, according to PTI.

Ibraish Khan had gone to the city’s Anand Nagar area to provide food for iftar, the evening meal of Muslims’ during the month of Ramzan, said his brother.

The people in Anand Nagar attacked my brother with weapons and crushed his head with a stone,” Ikhlaq Khan added. “While his one eye was broken there were cuts on his face and legs.”

On April 15, their mother had also asked authorities to tell her if Ibraish Khan was in jail or hand over his body if he had been killed.

The communal violence

On April 10, some people had allegedly hurled stones at a Ram Navami procession, objecting to loud and provocative music being played in the Talab Chowk area of Khargone. Subsequently, clashes broke out in the Gaushala Marg, Tabadi Chowk, Sanjay Nagar and Motipura areas.

At least 24 people, including Khargone Superintendent of Police Siddharth Choudhary, were injured in the violence. Ten houses were also burnt during the clashes.

On April 11, the Madhya Pradesh government had demolished homes and shops belonging to Muslims in Khargone. Deputy Inspector General of Police Khargone Range, Tilak Singh, claimed that the homes that were demolished belonged to those who had thrown stones during the procession.

On April 12, the Madhya Pradesh government set up a two-member claims tribunal to assess the damage caused during the communal violence.