A 30-year-old man died in West Bengal’s Howrah district on Sunday morning after he was beaten up by residents who suspected he was a thief, the Hindustan Times reported.
Locals reportedly tied up the man, who has not yet been identified, to a tree near a warehouse in Salkia area of the district, the police said. “The youth was suspected to be a thief,” Howrah city Deputy Commissioner of Police, Y Raghubanshi, said. “We are trying to identify the culprits from footage caught on security cameras installed in the area. One person has been detained for questioning.”
In another incident in the state’s Malda district, a local mob beat up two youngsters who were loitering near a women’s college in the English Bazar area. They were rescued by the police and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The two men were identified as 22-year-old Haiyul Sheikh and 20-year-old Salam Sheikh from Sujapur in Malda’s Kaliachak area. The region is reportedly known for organised crime.
“Haiyul and I were going to meet a friend who lives near the college,” Salam Sheikh told the newspaper. “Local people assumed that we were thieves. Had police not arrived the mob would have killed us.” The police have begun an investigation in the matter.
The West Bengal Assembly passed an anti-lynching bill on August 30 after a string of lynchings, many of which were connected with the transport of cattle or rumours of child-lifting, were reported from the state. Most recently, in September, a man was lynched in Bengal on suspicion of child-lifting or kidnapping. The police were also attacked by the mob in that case when they had tried to rescue the victim.
The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019, proposes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and fines ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for offences. It defines lynching as any attempt or act of violence by a mob on the “grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity, or any other ground”.