Unidentified individuals beat a retired Army captain to death in Amethi town in Uttar Pradesh, the police said on Sunday, PTI reported. The retired Army captain, Amanullah, 64, and his wife Ameena were in their house when the accused attacked them with sticks.

Additional Superintendent of Police Dayaram said that Amanullah tried to stop some people stealing from a shop near his house, warning them that he would inform the police.

Amanullah’s son told the police that the attackers hit him over the head, killing him instantly. The ex-Army man’s wife also alleged that the accused tried to strangle him.

“When they objected and tried to alert other villagers, the assailants tied them up and started hitting Amanullah with sticks,” Prahlad Singh, a police officer, said, according to the Hindustan Times. “An injury on the head proved fatal.” Singh said the accused stole the scrap after killing Amanullah.

“The body has been handed over to the family after carrying out a postmortem examination,” Singh added. “We are trying to get more details about the physical appearances of assailants from the victim’s widow.” A case has been filed under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes the penalty for murder.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi attacked the Uttar Pradesh government. “The law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh is not in the control of the state government,” she said in a tweet. “While crimes are on the rise, the state government is busy covering them up. This is an incident in my home Amethi. Will the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh find a solution to this problem or will it continue to sleep and cover up.”

Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Smriti Irani had defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Amethi constituency during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also commented on the incident, saying, “Lynchings of minorities in BJP-ruled states continues with impunity.”

“That the victim was a retired Army officer only bears testimony to the level of hatred being fuelled by this political ideology where those responsible for punishing lynchers protect them,” he tweeted.