The Assam Police on Monday arrested three more people in the state’s Karbi Anglong district for beating to death two men from Guwahati last week who they suspected to be child abductors.
Fifteen people were arrested over the weekend for the murder of Niloptal Das and Abhijeet Nath. One person was held for allegedly spreading misinformation on Facebook about child abductors in the area. The two men were artistes based in Goa and were back home for the Bohag Bihu festival.
The police have around 230 suspects in the case. Most of the people arrested so far had been identified after an analysis of video clips of the incident, they added. “We have formed a four-member Special Investigative Team in connection with the case,” Superintendent of Police (Karbi Anglong) GV Siva Prasad told Scroll.in. “The SIT is being headed by an additional SP-rank officer.”
On Sunday, students and civil rights activists protested in Guwahati against the lynching. They demanded the resignation of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Many protestors also raised concerns about the anti-tribal narrative that has been taking shape after the incident.
In a video of the attack that was circulated on social media, Niloptal Das is heard pleading with the attackers. “Do not kill me…please do not beat me,” he says. “I am an Assamese. Believe me, I am speaking the truth. My father’s name is Gopal Chandra Das and mother’s name is Radhika Das…please let me go.” The mob did not heed his pleas and continued to beat him with bamboo sticks.
The two men were reportedly on their way to a waterfall at Kangthilangso in the district, when they stopped their vehicle at the village of Panjuri Kachari to ask for directions. Some of the villagers got suspicious and two of them reportedly told the others that these men were child abductors and asked them to attack their vehicle.