RAJKOT: A nagging dispute over encroachment on a farmland took a bloody turn in Morbi after three men including father-son duo were murdered late on Sunday night, sparking tension near the

As the assailants and victims were from different communities, police feared that the tension would escalate and deployed heavy bandobast.

The clash erupted in Vajepar village on Morbi’s outskirts after a group of people went to the house of the Pathan family with which they were at loggerheads over the dispute. “The assailants went on seven bikes to the farm where the family lived and called three men out of the house. As soon as they came out, they started thrashing them with clubs and iron pipes,” said Morbi superintendent of police Karanraj Vaghela.

The deceased were identified as Dilawar Khan Pathan (54), his son Momin Khan (30) and nephew Afzal (22).

The accused first attacked Momin and Afzal but started beating Dilawar too when he tried to intervene. After thrashing the trio with clubs and iron pipes, the assailants also stabbed the men, killing them on the spot.

On Monday, police arrested the accused Bharat Naran Dabhi, Bharat Jivraj Dabhi, Jenti Dabhi, Ashwin Dabhi, Dhanji Dabhi, Kanji Dabhi, Shiva Dabhi, Mansukh Dabhi, Jivraj Dabhi, Pravin Dabhi, Kishor Dabhi and Sanjay Dabhi, all from the same family.

The dispute was over seven acres of farm land that Dabhis claimed ownership on and alleged that Pathans had illegally encroached upon it. They had even moved a court in this connection. Earlier too, there were skirmishes between the two families over the issue.

The accused were arrested on the complaint of Vasimkhan Pathan, one of the nephews of Dilawarkhan. Accused Dhanji and Sanjay were injured in a counter attack by the victims. The duo was admitted to a private hospital in Morbi from where they were arrested on Monday.

Earlier in the day, members of the minority community from Vajepar and the family members of the deceased thronged Morbi Civil Hospital and refused to accept their bodies till the accused were arrested. They relented only after police action.

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