Lightning claimed four lives in Gwalior district on Tuesday evening. Another villager was severely injured.

These are the first pre-monsoon deaths in the state. The victims — Sushi Tiwari, 68, Brajbhan Parmar, 45, Hari Singh Kushwaha, 35, and Bali Kushwaha, 40 — were residents of Karahiya village, around 50km from Gwalior.

"They own some land near a canal around 2km from their village.On Tuesday evening, they had gathered there, along with the local patwari, for demarcation of land. It started raining and they took shelter under two jamun trees.

Unfortunately, lightning hit the tree, killing the four men on the spot," Bhitarwar subdivisional police officer Jitendra Nagaich told TOI. A fifth person, Uday Bhan, is in a critical condition in hospital, he added.