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Picture for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Stock image

In a shocking incident, a 30-year-old Indian migrant worker from Bihar, was lynched on suspicion of theft in the city of Surat, in Gujarat. Reportedly, the incident took place on Saturday night. Indians took to social media to discuss how, even a pandemic is not enough to stop hate and lynching in India, and that migrant workers who were already bearing the brunt of an unplanned lockdown, have to deal with this too now.

Responding to news reports, Facebook user Saurabh Kumar posted: “Well even COVID-19 cannot stop lynching in our country.” And, Ritika Manas posted: “First they became victims of lockdown and starvation, now they will be victims of such … crimes. No one to stop it?”

According to Indian news reports, the victim was identified as Sangam Pandit, who used to work in a textile mill. Along with a friend Sujith Singh, he had gone to meet another friend in Bhestan, on Saturday night. When the two men were returning home on a motorbike, they took a wrong turn and reached another village.

The duo were, allegedly, stopped by a group of men who accused them of being thieves. One of them, hit Pandit with a blunt object on his head, leading to serious injuries. Meanwhile, Singh who was also beaten, suffered fractures in both legs.

The men were rushed to Surat Municipal Institution of Medical Education and Research hospital, but, Pandit succumbed to his injuries.

Facebook user Rishab Awasthi highlighted: “Why didn’t they hand them over to the police, before deciding to beat them up? This is much more than suspicion of theft. It’s the inherent hatred and anger in people. We really need to address the issue of mob lynching and mob justice, what is the point of a legal system then?”

A complaint was filed at Pandesara police station by Singh, his injured friend. The police have detained six persons including the municipal councilor of Vadod area, Satish Patel, in connection with the lynching. Initially, police invoked rioting, attempt to murder charges against the accused, but later added murder charge after the victim succumbed to his injuries.

Facebook user Ravi Kumar felt that lack of employment was the reason of such crimes. He wrote: “This is why our people need employment in our state.”

And, troubled by the increasing reports of innocent deaths, Facebook user Rani Kousar tweeted: “Innocent deaths every day. We have failed as humans and as society.”