An angry crowd outside an Indian court severely beat a wealthy man and his servant today after they attended a court hearing on charges of raping, killing and dismembering more than 20 women and children.
Television footage showed the crowd, including some lawyers, attacking and punching the suspects before police reinforcements arrived and formed a protective cordon.
One of the suspects, Moninder Singh Pandher, fainted and was taken to a hospital, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
The crowd attacked the two as they were being taken back to police custody after the court hearing in Ghaziabad, a town on the outskirts of New Delhi, PTI said.
Police arrested Pandher and his servant, Surender Kohli, nearly a month ago and charged them with kidnapping, raping and killing the victims and then dumping their dismembered bodies into storm drains outside Pandher’s house in Noida, an industrial and software hub adjoining New Delhi.
Police said 20 skulls had been found so far.
India’s top federal crime agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, took over the investigation from local police, who were accused of failing to properly pursue reports of missing children from a nearby slum.
At least 38 children have gone missing from the slum in the past two years, residents say.
Angry protests and political rallies erupted in Noida after skulls and other body parts were first found on December 29.
Families of the missing children say they forced police to act after they found body parts and clothes flowing in the drain in front of Pandher’s house.