Those arrested on Monday have been identified as Raikom Timung, Mensing Kro, Robin Mech, Bikram Hanse and Protap Kro. The police have also taken 35 people into custody so far for allegedly posting hate messages and spreading rumours on social media.
Artiste Nilotpal Das and Guwahati-based contractor Abhijeet Nath 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.
According to reports, rumours about child snatchers being on the prowl were doing the rounds on social media.
The police said Alphajoz Timung, the main accused in the case, confronted the duo near the waterfall and accused them of being child lifters. The two men reportedly denied it, and then headed out. Timung then alerted villagers about the two men and claimed that they had a child in the car, which led to the attack.
In a video of the attack that was circulated on social media, Nilotpal 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.