A 58-year-old man accused of killing peacocks was on Friday night beaten to death by a mob in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh, NDTV reported. The police have arrested nine accused, and registered murder and rioting charges against them. They have also been charged under relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act.

The man, identified as Hiralal Banchada, suffered critical injuries and died of his wounds in hospital.

The incident happened around 9 pm in an area under the jurisdiction of the Kukdeshwar police station. The villagers saw four men running through the fields and found four dead peacocks with Banchada. He was caught and then thrashed by the mob. They reportedly left him critically injured in the fields.

“Someone informed the Dial 100 emergency service of the state police about the incident,” Superintendent of Neemuch district, Rakesh Sagar, was quoted as saying. “A police team rushed to the village and brought the critically injured man to the hospital, where he died later.”

A separate case has been registered against Banchada, his son Rahul, and two other people who are absconding, under the Wildlife Protection Act. Hunting and killing of India’s national bird is prohibited by law. According to the Indian Forest Act of 1972, those found guilty can be imprisoned for up to seven years.

The incident came two days after three men, from the same district, were stripped and beaten for allegedly stealing a goat. On Thursday, a mentally challenged man was thrashed in Raisen district of the state on suspicion of kidnapping children. He was found unconscious in Aklapur village and died on Friday. The police are still searching for the accused.

On Wednesday, another woman was beaten after being suspected of kidnapping children in Devas district. The police had managed to save her life.

‘Government doing best to curb mob lynching’

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Saturday said that the government was bringing in new laws to prevent incidents of mob lynching in the state, ANI reported.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bala Bachchan also said that the government was doing its best to prevent these cases of lynching. “There should not be any mob lynching incidents,” he said. “In fact number of crimes has gone down. The BJP is making false accusations.”

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopal Bhargav had said that the Madhya Pradesh government has failed to maintain law and order in the state.