Arrests, Crackdown On Social Media After 2 Men Beaten To Death In Assam

The men pleaded with the mob that they were not child kidnappers, but the mob was adamant.

Guwahati:  Three days after two men were beaten to death in Assam’s Karbi Anglong by a mob which mistook them for child kidnappers, 19 people have been arrested. The police have also cracked down on those spreading rumours on social media and circulating fake news with inflammatory content that could spark off communal clashes in the state.

Besides the 19 in custody, 13 others have been arrested for posting hate messages and objectionable posts on social media in different districts of the state.

Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said that the police are closely monitoring the situation and appealed to the people not to get swayed by rumours on social media and immediately inform police if they come across inflammatory posts.

Nilotpal Das, a sound artiste, and Abhijeet Nath, a businessman, were coming back from Kangthilangso, a picnic spot in Karbi Anglong, on Friday evening when the SUV they were driving was stopped at Panjuri by a group of villagers who pulled them out and thrashed them on the suspicion of being child kidnappers.

The men pleaded with the mob that they were not child kidnappers, but were actually Assamese, a video of the incident revealed. But the mob was adamant. The men were tied up using a nylon rope, thrashed with bamboo sticks and dragged on the ground before they bled to death.

Gopal Chandra Das, Nilotpal’s father, retired as an audit officer of Indian Railways. He said it was time for all to act together so that such an incident isn’t repeated.

“Everyone has to act to fight the menace of mob violence. The prime minister or the chief minister can’t do anything if we don’t stop that,” Mr Das said.

The killing of two young men merely on suspicion has shocked and outraged the citizens of the north-eastern state. Several candlelight vigils and protest rallies were held across the state to demand justice. At the end of a protest rally, a section of the protesters allegedly attacked the police with stones. The police retaliated with lathicharge. Several protesters as well as police officers were injured.

The police have decided not to allow any protest rally without prior permission.

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