A farmer died in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, four days after being allegedly beaten up by the police for violating lockdown orders in Jabalpur district, PTI reported.

The 50-year-old farmer, identified as Bansi Kushwaha, was allegedly beaten up while he was searching for his cow in the fields of Tilhari locality on April 16. A video of the farmer alleging assault and naming the police personnel who hit him was widely circulated on social media, and was also shared by former Chief Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath.

Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Uike said six police personnel who were named by the farmer have been suspended. An official of the rank of city superintendent of police will further investigate the matter, he added.

The police said the farmer had not lodged a complaint with the local police or the higher authorities. “Preliminary probe has revealed the farmer was admitted in a hospital on April 19 for the treatment of an ailment,” Uike said. “His postmortem reports are awaited.”

Sharing the video of the farmer on Twitter, Nath called the incident “cruel and barbaric” and demanded that action be taken against the culprits.

“A 50-year-old farmer named Bansi Kushwaha was brutally beaten up by police of Shivraj government in Jabalpur when he was returning from his fields after feeding and giving water to a cow,” he wrote. “Lockdown is to be followed, but when a farmer is returning home to his hungry thirsty cow with fodder water – then beating him mercilessly without knowing the reason – it is cruelty and barbarity.”

Similar incidents of police excesses amid the countrywide lockdown have been reported from several places recently. In Uttar Pradesh, a police constable in Badaun was suspended on Monday for allegedly beating up a farmer’s son and daughters, PTI reported.

India’s Covid-19 tally increased by 1,336 cases in 24 hours to reach 18,601 on Tuesday morning. According to the Union health ministry, 590 of these patients have died, 14,759 people are undergoing treatment, 3,251 people have recovered and one person has left the country.

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