NEW DELHI, INDIA - 2021/04/24: Delhi Police officers stand on guard for any clash between Relatives of the deceased and hospital staff at Jaipur Golden hospital where at least 25 Covid-19 patient passed away while in ICU the previous night due to shortage of medical oxygen. According to data released by the Union Health Ministry, 346,786 new Covid-19 cases and 2,624 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The country has so far reported 189,544 deaths. (Photo by Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Amitha Reji George, Pune

On Tuesday, a 26-year-old man was tied to an electric pole and beaten to death in Delhi’s Sundar Nagri area over suspicion of theft, said police. The victim, identified as Isar Wahid around 500 metres from the crime spot and worked as a daily wage labourer.

His family alleged that he was beaten to death for stealing a banana from a Ganesh Chaturthi Pandal. But the police didn’t confirm it yet. Police claimed they have arrested seven individuals, including a 17-year-old, after filing a FIR at the Nand Nagri police station. Every suspect admitted to hitting Wahid because they thought he was a thief, police added. The six individuals who were caught were identified as Lucky (19), Manoj (19), Mohd Yunus (20), Kamal (23), Kishan (19) and Pappu (24). Following the incident, police security in the region was increased in an effort to quell communal tensions.

On Wednesday, an unverified video of the incident that purportedly depicted the beating of Wahid while he was tied to a pole appeared on social media. He is heard pleading with the suspects to free him. Joy Tirkey, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast), said the incident happened at five in the morning. On Tuesday night, Abdul Wahid, the deceased’s father, notified them of the occurrence. Abdul claimed that when he got home at 6.30 pm, he discovered his injured son moaning in pain along with his four sisters outside their house. But at that moment he was still conscious.

Isar informed him that a group of boys in the G4 Block caught him near their home because they believed he was a thief and tied him to a pole. For a long period, they beat him with sticks. Wahid identified a few of the boys who lived close to their home, according to Tirkey. Imrana, one of his sisters, claimed, “He was severely beaten. He couldn’t even stand up straight because he was bleeding in several areas. All because he stole a banana from the pandal honouring Ganesh Chaturthi? Outside the home, he was found lying. We were unsure of what to do. Those who assaulted him must be held accountable.”

Locals claimed that Wahid broke into the pandal, took cash and sweets, and destroyed an earthen lamp while doing so.”He arrived around 4.30 am and took money and candy while also putting out the diya. When men and youth saw him, they grabbed hold of him and beat him. He was tied down because he was carrying a knife,” said a local resident.