The police in Assam have arrested 30 people so far for their alleged role in the lynching of two men in Karbi Anglong on June 8. A mob suspected the two – Goa-based artistes Niloptal Das and Abhijeet Nath – to be child abductors.
The protests against the murder continued in Guwahati amid heightened security provisions on Tuesday. Protestors at Judge’s Field ground demanded that the accused be punished and that the police personnel who “failed in their duty to protect the victims” be penalised, The Assam Tribune reported. The police had baton-charged several protestors in Guwahati the day before, PTI reported.
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.
Meanwhile, the Coordination Committee of Tribal Organisations of Assam issued a statement on Monday calling for restraint. They urged people to refrain from adding a communal angle to the incident, The Assam Tribune reported. The committee also demanded that the accused be held accountable.
“Some elements with vested interest are trying to add communal and political colour to the unfortunate incident which was actually the result of deep-rooted superstitious beliefs among a backward community living in an interior place,” the committee said.
Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said officials were closely monitoring social media. 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.
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.