Ranchi man stops attack on woman, beaten to death

FP

A 38-year-old medical representative was beaten to death by allegedly drunk hoodlums after he prevented them from assaulting a 29-year-old mother of three in Ranchi on January 1.

The victim, Srikant Bhardwaj, made two desperate calls to the Bariatu police station and four calls to the officer-in-charge's mobile phone as his alleged killers cornered him in Swami Sahajanand Colony some time after 5 pm.

Policemen, who had allegedly lost their way, arrived at least half-an-hour after Bhardwaj and his three friends had been brutally beaten. Bhardwaj died of excessive bleeding from wounds to the head later that evening; one of his friends, Om Prakash Pandey, is being treated for multiple injuries at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).

Police said they had arrested one person who appeared to be the "prime accused", but who could not be named because he was a minor.

"The arrested individual is a minor and he looks like the prime accused. Witnesses could identify only one person, and we are working backwards using that information. We have zeroed in on at least 10 others; there will be arrests soon," Bariatu station in-charge Phaguni Paswan said.

A resident of Swami Sahajanand Colony — an immigrant hub of under-construction and newly-build brick houses skirting the perimeter wall of RIMS — said four young men had been drinking in an empty plot behind the house of the 29-year-old woman. At some point, they had scaled the wall of the house and asked the woman — the wife of a security guard at a local branch of the State Bank of India — for water. She had obliged, but when the youths came back to ask a second time, she had refused, the resident, who declined to be identified, said.

The refusal allegedly enraged the men who grabbed the woman and dragged her out into the courtyard, abusing her loudly, neighbours said.

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