“They Were Harmless”: Assam Lynching Victims’ Friends
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A sense of collective grief prevails over Assam as families and friends mourn the brutal murder of two of their own.
On Friday, 8 June, Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath were bludgeoned to death by an angry mob who suspected the two to be child abductors. Messages suggesting that child abductors were on the loose were circulated through WhatsApp groups.
Following the incident, on 11 June, people gathered in large numbers outside the Guwahati Planetarium, for a peaceful protest organised by a group of close friends, demanding that justice prevail and the perpetrators be dealt with severity.
Nath and Das were part of a nature-loving circle, passionate about music and travelling.
Ankur Saikia, another close friend of the two, told The Quint even though his “blood boils” to see the way they were treated, he will “have to have patience” to “bring justice” to his deceased friends. He further added that Das, who had been living in Goa for the past five years, would visit Guwahati every year to celebrate the festival of Bihu and spend almost two months experimenting with music.
An emotional Bhaskarjyoti Saikia said Nath was “different” and that “he was all that you could expect in a friend”.
Ragini Duara, another member of the circle, remembered Nath fondly. She told The Quint that there were many memories, but the one that stays with her is the fact that he was the only one who “agreed to teach her to ride two wheelers!”
Their words are a painful reminder of the personal loss that these people have endured – and the void that shall remain, all because a blood-thirsty mob chose to take law into its own hands.