The Manipur Police on Friday arrested five people, including a personnel of the India Reserve Battalion, for allegedly lynching a man on suspicion of vehicle theft, reported The Indian Express. Thirteen people were involved in the incident that took place in Imphal West District on Thursday, said the police.
The accused were booked under sections 302 (murder), 117 (abetting commission of offence by public or by more than 10 people), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and remanded in custody for four days.
“Thirteen people were involved in the lynching of the youth and all of them have been identified,” said Imphal West Superintendent of Police Jogeschandra Haobijam. “We have arrested five people and the rest will be nabbed soon.”
The victim was identified as 26-year-old MBA student Farooque Khan from Lilong Haoreibi in Thoubal district. He was attacked at Tharoijam by a mob, which also damaged the car in which Khan was travelling. Two others with him managed to escape. The police have identified them, said Haobijam, adding that it was unclear if Khan was involved in vehicle thefts.
However, villagers claimed that Khan and his friends were caught stealing a two-wheeler on Thursday morning, reported NDTV.
The Manipur Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and has demanded that the state’s director general of police submit a report by September 22.
Residents of Lilong Haoreibi have also formed a joint action committee, claiming that Khan was innocent and on his way to meet a friend. On Saturday, the committee called a public meeting to discuss the future course of action in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, Tharoijamon residents on Friday organised a protest at the Patsoi police station to seek the release of the five arrested persons. Protestors threw stones and the officer-in-charge of the police station was injured in the attack. The police were forced to retaliate by firing tear gas.
Manipur Deputy Inspector General Jayenta Singh urged people to not take the law into their hands. “The culprits were arrested for their involvement in attacking the youths,” he said. “It is up to the court to decide whether the arrested persons are guilty or not.”