The Madhya Pradesh Police on Thursday arrested three people in connection with a mob attack on six farmers in Dhar district the previous day, in which one of the farmers was killed, and the others injured, ANI reported. A mob of hundreds of villagers attacked the farmers, suspecting them to be kidnappers, in Borlai village on Wednesday.

The Madhya Pradesh government announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the relatives of Ganesh Khasi, the farmer who was lynched on Wednesday.

The mob, which was from Khirakia and Junapani villages, chased the farmers, who were in two cars, for about 25 km, NDTV reported. They finally caught up with the vehicles in Borlai village and attacked the farmers with batons and big boulders.

Dhar District Police Superintendent Aditya Pratap Singh said the lynching took place over a dispute between the farmers and labour contractors. “The victims had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to three labour contractors based in Khirkiya village under Tirla police station of Dhar district recently for hiring agricultural labour, but the contractors didn’t supply the promised labour,” he said. “The contractors returned Rs 1 lakh to the farmers and asked the farmers to come to Khirkiya village for getting the outstanding Rs 1.5 lakh.” Singh said that when the farmers reached the village, the contractors and their aides attacked them in a pre-planned manner.

The police officer said the farmers escaped from Khirkiya village, but when they reached Borlai, their cars got stuck in a traffic jam. The contractors and their aides, who were chasing the farmers, caught up with them, and spread a rumour in Borlai that they were kidnappers, Singh added. “Provoked by the rumour, the mob of villagers attacked the six men in two cars with stones and rods,” he said.

Four of the five remaining farmers were from Limba Piplia village in Ujjain. The police on Thursday arrested three accused – Avtar Singh, Bhuvaan Singh and Jaam Singh – and charged them with murder and assault. Around 15 unidentified people have also been booked.

There have previously been incidents of mob lynching in Madhya Pradesh, as in other parts of the country. In July last year, a mob killed a 58-year-old man accused of killing peacocks in Neemuch district of the state. The police arrested nine accused and registered a case of murder and rioting against them.

The same month, the Bhopal Police said they rescued three men from being lynched by a mob that suspected them of being child lifters, in Hanumanganj area of the city. The three men, in an inebriated state, were trying to help some boys cross the road.