Boy knocked down, burnt alive for seeking damages(Lead)

March 14th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) A 10-year-old boy was set on fire for demanding compensation from members of a wedding party who were travelling in a car that hit his bicycle. The police Friday suspected a family rivalry behind the incident. The incident occurred Thursday evening in Sungapur village of Alipur area in north Delhi, when Sanjeev’s bicycle was hit by a Qualis car carrying the wedding party, according to villagers.

The men were returning to Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, after attending a marriage at Bhkatarpur village, near Sungarpur. The boy too had attended that wedding.

When Sanjeev demanded that they pay for his damaged bicycle, the enraged men in the car first thrashed him and then dragged him 150-200 meters into a field. The men, who were reportedly drunk, tied his legs and hands and then dumped the boy on a heap of cow-dung patties and set them all ablaze.

The villagers spotted the flames and rushed to douse the fire. They found the boy was charred from head to ankles.

“Villagers found the boy with legs tied inside the burning heap of cow-dung patties while they were sprinkling water to douse the flames. Later, they recognized the boy on the basis of his feet. The boy was immediately pulled out, but he was dead,” said Charan Singh Kandra, the local legislator.

Meanwhile, senior police officials told IANS that the boy was first strangulated to death and it seems that in a bid to destroy his body and evidence, the assailants, who could be four-five in number, torched him.

“Dragging the boy over 150 metres from road to the field strongly suggests that an insider or people sharing enmity with him might be behind the act. We are probing the matter from all possible angles,” said a senior investigating official.

Sanjeev’s bicycle and his footwear are missing, but no eyewitness has approached the police till Friday evening.

“We have only came across a boy who last saw him on his bicycle. The boy plainly refuses he knows anything more,” the official added.

Following the discovery of the boy’s body, hundreds of villagers stormed the wedding venue and tried to vandalise it though most guests had left. The mob of over 200 men damaged windowpanes of some cars parked nearby.

The victim’s father, Virender Singh, said the family only came to know of the tragedy when they heard of fire.

“We were already searching for Sanju, but rushed to the field only when we came to know that a boy’s charred body has been found there. I recognized my son from his half-burnt feet,” said Singh, who operates a JCB crane.

“The police must arrest the killers or we would not spare them,” an infuriated Singh added.

The police, called around 11.30 p.m., immediately took possession of the body and sent it to the Babu Jagjeevan Ram Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The angry villagers then staged a demonstration outside the Alipur police station, blaming the police for letting the attackers escape.

They shouted slogans against the police and blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh highway for hours. Normal vehicular movement was restored three hours later.

The villagers also staged demonstrations Friday afternoon against the police. They said the police were being sluggish and shoddy in their investigations.

The situation in the area continued to be tense Friday and the police deployed additional forces to prevent any untoward incident.

“We have registered a case of murder and have sent three teams to Meerut to locate the members of the wedding party. Five people have been detained and further investigations are under way,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dinesh Kumar.

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