Tribal burnt alive for not repaying ₹5,000 borrowed during COVID crisis

The victim worked at the accused’s farm because he could not repay the debt. When Sahariya asked for his wages, the accused refused.

Sahariya named Radheshyam Lodha in his statement to the police. Lodha has been arrested and he has confessed to his crime

A tribal from Guna district in Madhya Pradesh was burnt alive by a farmer from the same village on Friday night for failing to return ₹5,000 that he had borrowed from the accused during lockdown.

The victim has been identified as Vijay Sahariya, a resident of Ukawad Khurd village in Guna district. He was rushed to the district hospital where he died while undergoing treatment.

The police arrested the accused Radheshyam Lodha under section 302 (murder) of the IPC and under relevant sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on Friday late night, reported The Hindustan Times.

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Guna superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar Singh said, “In May, Vijay Sahariya, 32, a farm labourer, borrowed ₹5,000 from a farmer Radheshyam Lodha, who used to give money to people on interest. As the former was facing a tough time due to lockdown, Sahariya started working at Lodha’s agricultural land. When Sahariya asked for his payment, Lodha refused to give it and demanded his money back. Sahariya was requesting him to give his payment after deducting Rs 5,000, but Lodha was unmoved.

“On Friday night, they again had a discussion over this matter and after a heated argument, Lodha beat Sahariya up. Lodha brought a can of kerosene oil from his house and poured the oil on Sahariya’s body. Lodha set Sahariya on fire. When Sahariya cried for help, the villagers rushed to the spot and tried to douse the fire,” the SP said.

Also read: How lockdown has hit tribal communities and forest dwellers

Sahariya was rushed to the district hospital where he died during treatment.

Sahariya named Lodha in his statement to the police. Lodha has been arrested and he has confessed to his crime, said TS Baghel, additional superintendent of police, Guna.

Guna collector Kumar Purshottam provided a financial aid of ₹20,000 to the family to perform the last rites. “The victim’s family will also be provided a financial aid of ₹8.50 lakh under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, said the collector.

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