South Asia

Indian official Sonawane's murder prompts mass protest

Officials hold protest in India
Image caption Government officials have downed tools to demand better protection

Tens of thousands of government workers in India have protested against the brutal killing of an official in the western state of Maharashtra.

Yashwant Sonawane was burnt to death while investigating a fuel racket.

Nine people have been arrested in connection with Tuesday's murder which has shocked people across India.

Mr Sonawane's death is being blamed by the government on the so-called fuel mafia - criminals who steal petrol and mix it with kerosene before selling it.

State police are now carrying out raids on groups suspected of being involved in the activity.

Image caption Mr Sonawane's murder has shocked people across India

Tens of thousands of government officials in Maharashtra refused to work on Thursday in protest at the killing.

Several thousand attended a meeting in the state capital, Mumbai (Bombay), to mourn Mr Sonawane and demanded that they be given adequate protection while carrying out their duties.

"We will attend office but not work," GD Kulthe, secretary of the Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Mahasangh, told the BBC.

"We are going to present a memorandum demanding strict action against all involved and better protection for government officers."

Mr Sonawane had apparently tried to prevent a criminal gang from stealing fuel on the Nashik-Manmad highway some 200km (124 miles) from Mumbai, when he was attacked and burnt alive after being doused by kerosene.

The killing has drawn people's attention to the issue of corruption, which has been a major concern in the country in recent months after a series of scams, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi.

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