A 35-year-old tribal man was beaten to death by local people for allegedly stealing articles from some shops at Agali in Palakkad, Kerala, police said.
The deceased, suspected to be mentally unsound, was identified as Madhu, hailing from Kadukumanna settlement of Attappady, one of the largest and backward tribal hamlets in the state.
The shabbily dressed man, who was living in the forest near Mukkali in Palakkad for some months, used to be seen wandering in the area, police said.
He was beaten up by the local people, who accused him of stealing articles from some shops in the town, and later handed him over to the police on Thursday.
Some television channels aired visuals purportedly showing people taking selfies with Madhu with his hands tied up.
Though, the police tried to rush him to the nearby Agali government hospital, he vomited, collapsed and died in the jeep itself and was declared by dead by the hospital, police said.
Agali police has registered a case and some persons have been taken into custody, they said.
"They are being interrogated and the arrest will be recorded after verification," a senior police officer told PTI.
Police said the post mortem would be conducted at the Thrissur Medical College hospital later, only after which the exact cause of the death will be known.
However, Madhu's relatives told Malayalam channels that he was suffering from a mental breakdown and was staying away from home for some months.
They also wanted exemplary punishment to the guilty.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi VIjayan condemned the incident and said stringent action would be taken against the accused.
Directions in this regard have been given to the director general of police, he said.
'Such violence cannot be accepted in a civilised society. It cannot be accepted in anyway,' Vijayan said in a Facebook post.