Six persons were killed in a clash in a village in Gujarat’s Kutch district Tuesday night following a long-standing feud between two families over the local panchayat elections, police said.
Among those killed were the son and the father-in-law of woman sarpanch (village head) Shakinaben Bhulia, they said.
A heated argument broke out between members of the two families, belonging to two different communities at Chhasra village over the sarpanch’s election which had taken place two years ago, Kutch (West) Superintendent of Police M S Bharada said.
It escalated as the two groups attacked each other using sharp weapons, killing six persons and injuring four, he said.
The deceased included the sarpanch’s son Abid (25) and her father-in-law Adam Bhulia (65).
The others who were killed were identified as Mangal Ahir (27), Bharat Ahir (28), Bhargav Ahir (26) and Chetan Ahir (38), said an official of Mundra police station.
Some villagers were unhappy after Shakinaben was elected as sarpanch by defeating Raniben Ahir two years ago, and some of them had lodged a complaint against the sarpanch’s family, Kutch range inspector general of police D B Vaghela said.
After Tuesday’s incident, Ahir and Bhulia families lodged FIRs against each other at the Mundra police station for offences of murder and attempt to murder, a police official said.
Nobody has been arrested yet, he added.
Senior police officials, including the IG and SP along with a large team of local police, rushed to the village after the incident and camped there through the night.
Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said the situation was under control.
“FIRs of both parties have been taken and evidence has been collected, including technical evidence for forensic examination…Two companies of the State Reserve Police force have been deployed along with local police,” Jadeja said.
In his FIR, the sarpanch’s husband Aarab Abdulla Bhulia said that Chetan Ahir’s family was resentful for the last two years after Chetan’s wife Raniben Ahir was defeated in the local panchayat elections.
Holding a grudge against his family, the Ahirs attacked them last night, armed with sharp weapons and iron rods, Bhulia said.
In the attack, his father and son were seriously injured and died on the spot, and one of the assailants ran over an SUV over his son after he fell down, Bhulia alleged in the FIR.
Four unidentified persons attacked their house with a tractor and damaged CCTV cameras installed there, he added.
In a counter FIR, complainant Ritesh Ahir alleged that the relatives of the sarpanch attacked members of his family after the latter lodged a complaint against the sarpanch a week ago. Some of the accused tried to run him over under a vehicle, he alleged.
A total of 19 persons were mentioned in the two FIRs, four of them unnamed, police said.
The injured have been admitted to a hospital in Bhuj.