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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 10:14 GMT
Mob attacks India murder suspects
Relative in Noida, Delhi
Distraught relatives are maintaining a vigil
An Indian businessman and his servant, accused in the rape and murder of at least 19 women and children, have been assaulted by a mob.

The duo were attacked by a crowd of onlookers, as well as lawyers, outside the court in Ghaziabad, near Delhi.

Businessman Moninder Singh Pandher appeared to fall unconscious during the assault. He was taken to hospital where his condition is reported to be stable.

Mr Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli were arrested in December.

Police and investigation agencies have recovered skulls and body parts from a drain outside the businessman's house in Noida, a suburb of Delhi.

Slapped and punched

Emotions have been running high in the area and angry locals are continuing to hold a vigil outside Moninder Singh's home.

The two men are in the custody of India's federal investigating police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Television channels showed footage of lawyers and other people climbing on to scooters and cars and raining blows on the two men.

The pair were slapped and punched and kicked by the mob. A policeman was shown kneeling over him, trying to save him from further blows.

Pandher was seen lying on the ground after the assault.

CBI officials say the two have received minor injuries.

The federal investigation agency took over the case a fortnight ago amid anger at local police inaction.

Negligence

Residents say as many as 40 children have disappeared in the area over the past two years.

Parents of some of the missing children have demanded that the guilty be executed.

The accused are being questioned by CBI officials and have also undertaken lie detector tests.

The crime has shocked the country with many people accusing the local police of negligence and dereliction of duty.

Many locals say police failed to act over the abductions and murders because many of those reported missing came from poor families.

Six Noida policemen have been sacked for alleged incompetence. Three senior officers are suspended.


SEE ALSO
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05 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Police sacked over India killings
04 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Police find children's skeletons
29 Dec 06 |  South Asia

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