Balasore: The increased price of cigarettes turned fatal when a man was beaten to death following a brawl at Sartha village in Balasore district on Wednesday night.
The deceased was identified as Subhas Patra, brother of betel shop owner Ramesh Patra.
According to villagers, four youths in a car had come to Ramesh’s betel shop at the village to buy cigarettes. An altercation broke out between the youths and Ramesh when he charged an additional Re 1 per cigarette.
The youths argued that he was demanding extra price and soon the scene turned ugly. Sensing trouble, Ramesh called his brother Subhas for help.
However, the youths overpowered the two and then beat them up with iron rods, leaving Ramesh unconscious. Hearing the commotion, locals rushed to help the brothers. They also caught the youths and gave them a severe beating.
Later, the residents took Subhas to the Balasore district headquarters hospital (DHH). As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. Subash succumbed to his injuries on Thursday morning.
Following this, the villagers staged a road blockade on Thursday and demanded justice and Rs 15 lakh as compensation for the bereaved family.
The agitators said the youths were drunk and blamed the incident on country and foreign liquor stores in the area. They also demanded immediate closure of the liquor shops in the area.
Meanwhile, the youths, who were also thrashed by the villagers, are also undergoing treatment at the Balasore DHH.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident.