Four people have been arrested in Dimapur district of Nagaland on Saturday for allegedly beating up migrant workers and making videos of the incidents. The videos, one of which shows the labourers and their families being beaten with sticks, went viral on social media, following which the police swung into action.
Dimapur Commissioner of Police Rothihu Tetseo told Scroll.in that the incident took place on Friday in Vidima village. “A case has been registered and it will now be forwarded to the court,” he said, while confirming the arrests.
Tetseo said the men had accused the family in the video of sheltering a “stranger”. “The family initially denied the allegation, but the men found a boy hiding inside,” the police officer added.
The accused were identified as Valen Sote, Medovi Kiso, Thejasekho Sirie and Vilakhotuo Vizo, according to the police. The victims of the assault were treated at a district hospital and were discharged, police said.
The Naga Students Federation condemned the incident and urged the authorities to ensure that strict action is initiated against the perpetrators, Northeast Now reported.
“The miscreants have been circulating the same on various social media platforms while being unaware of the ripple effect it could have on the Naga people at large,” a statement by the federation’s President Ninoto Awomi and assistant general secretary Siipuni Ng Philo said. “It is truly unfortunate that incidents like these have come to the forefront during this difficult hour of the entire human race coming together and fighting the deadly Covid-19.”
A Rahman, the working president of the Muslim Council Dimapur, said that the boy alleged to have been hiding is the son of the couple being thrashed in the video. “He works as a driver in some other part of the town,” Rahman said.
Tetseo said villages in Nagaland have prohibited the entry of outsiders in the wake of the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus. “The youths who have been arrested said that the family had not informed of his arrival,” he said. “We don’t know how far that is true.”
Tens of thousands of migrant labourers who worked in major cities in India had set out on foot to their hometowns following the announcement of the lockdown on March 25. However, the Centre soon ordered states to close borders, fearing that the exodus would lead to a spread of Covid-19. The lockdown was on April 14 extended till May 3. There have been reports of villages denying entry to migrants who have managed to reach their hometowns.