The Manipur Police on Sunday said four officers have been suspended after a video purportedly showed them present at the spot in Imphal West district’s Tharoijam village where a group of people lynched a man on Thursday, reported The Indian Express.
The video, which is circulating on social media, shows at least three khaki-clad men – two wielding guns – around Farooque Khan, a 26-year-old MBA student from Lilong Haoreibi in Thoubal district who was accused of stealing a vehicle. An injured Khan is then seen moving slightly. Another video of the incident shows Khan asking for water minutes before he died. The group of men standing around him refuse and say: “You have come all the way to steal so why are you asking for water?”
“Four Manipur police personnel, including one sub-inspector, who were at the spot, have been suspended on Sunday,” said Imphal West Superintendent of Police Jogeschandra Haobijam.
Deputy Inspector General (Range 1) Jayanta Singh said “strong action” has been taken against the personnel seen in the video. “An inquiry has been initiated against them,” he added.
The four were sent to Tharoijam after the police received information about the lynching. But local people blocked police vehicles and the policemen reached the village on foot, said an unidentified official.
Of the 13 people involved in the incident, five people were arrested on Friday. An India Reserve Battalion personnel is among those arrested.
“The presence of policemen shows that the villagers had probably called them and they arrived,” said Khan’s relative Mujibur Rehman. “But they did nothing to save the victim. Their role needs to be investigated.” The videos showed the “kind of barbarism shown by the killers”, he added.
The residents of Lilong Haoreibi, who have formed a joint action committee, met Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday. They asked him to sack the four police personnel. “We have been assured that the absconding accused will be arrested at the earliest and the attackers will be brought to book,” said the committee’s convener MA Zabbar.