The lynching of five nomads in a remote village of this district of Maharashtra on Sunday last was not premeditated, according to a top police official.

Dhule’s Superintendent of Police M. Ramkumar said many of those arrested claimed they joined in thrashing the five men without actually knowing what it was all about.

Twenty-four people have so far been arrested in connection with the July 1 lynching, which was believed to have been triggered by a rumour about a child-lifting gang being active in the area.

The victims belonging to Nath Gosavi community were thrashed with sticks and chappals and stoned, after one of them apparently tried to speak to a six-year-old girl.

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