A transporter and his friend in Jabalpur have been booked for stripping his three tribal employees naked and beating them in a market for allegedly stealing 120 litres of diesel.
Although the incident happened on July 11 night, no FIR was registered immediately as the victims feared for their lives. Police swung into action after a video of the incident went viral on social media.
The accused have been identified as transporter Guddu Sharma and his friend Sheru, a resident of Jabalpur. Both are absconding and police have launched a hunt for them.
The victims were identified as Suresh Thakur (46), Ashish Gond (24) and Golu Thakur (23), all residents of Mandla district, who were stripped completely naked and lined up against a shuttered shop along Andhmook bypass road to face action for allegedly stealing 120 litres of diesel.
The two accused have been charged with beating and threatening the victims with dire consequences and also under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
A medical examination of the victims was done, police said.
In the video, Guddu is seen showering abuses and mercilessly beating the victims on their hips with a baseball bat.
Guddu repeatedly asks them to raise their hands or he would hit them on their hands with full force and break them. The victims were repeatedly asked how much diesel they had stolen. Guddu tells them they will remember their theft when experience the pain.
His accomplice who was shooting the video of the act is heard saying they would have to suffer as they had committed a crime. When one of the victims feels giddiness and almost falls on the ground the main accused charges him with putting on an act.
The video suggests it was shot at the behest of or in knowledge of the accused. Several people are seen watching the act but nobody came forward to rescue the victims.
Sanjeevani Nagar police station in-charge, Bhuvneshwari Chauhan said the victims were initially not willing to lodge the FIR out of fear of facing the wrath of the accused. However, police assured them of action against the accused and safety for them.