Assam Lynching: Police Lathi-Charge as Protests Turn Violent
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Thousands of protesters gathered at the Guwahati Commerce College and blocked the busy RG Baruah Road on Saturday, 10 June, to protest against the mob lynching of two youths – Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath – in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district the previous night.
An angry mob lynched two youths from Guwahati to death because they were allegedly suspected to be “child lifters.” This comes in the context of many rumours of a child-lifting gang operating in the area.
The victims, both in their 30s, had gone for a short vacation from Guwahati to the picnic spot Kangthilangso in Karbi Anglong. Abhijeet was a businessman based in Mumbai, and Nilotpal was a sound engineer.
In some chilling videos that are doing the rounds, locals can be seen mercilessly beating the two with sticks. In one of the videos, Nilotpal Basu can also be seen pleading for his life, stating over and over again that he is an Assamese.
Protests in Guwahati Turn Violent
A Facebook group 'Justice for Nilotpal and Abhijeet' was started on 9 June to give a call for protest, and it managed to mobilise nearly 60,000 people within 24 hours, PTI reported.
However, what started out as a peaceful protest turned violent with police resorting to mild lathi-charge.
Till the time they were peaceful, we had no objection and allowed them to express their feelings. But as it was already around three hours of protest in the form of road blockade, we requested them to leave in the evening and most of the agitators had left.Deputy Commissioner (Central) of Guwahati Police Ranjan Bhuyan to PTI.
However, close to hundred protesters became adamant, refusing to leave the spot and even started drinking alcohol on the road. They threw stones and bottles on policemen, the Commissioner added.
Media persons were also a target of protests, but none were reported to have been injured, PTI reported.
“The two should have informed the police before visiting the picturesque district,” Karbi Anglong Deputy Commissioner Mridul Kumar Mahanta had reportedly said.
“Some people had called Guwahati Police Commissioner Hiren Chandra Nath to inform about their protest plans and candle light procession,” he told PTI. But that remained an "informal intimation."
‘If Assamese People Are Not Safe in Assam, Where Will We Go?’ Asks Protester
The All Assam Students' Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad, and the Karbi Students' Association protested at Dokmoka police station, under the jurisdiction of which the site of the crime falls.
"If Assamese people are not safe in Assam, where will we go? This cannot go on. The culprits must get exemplary punishment," PTI quoted a student of Guwahati University as saying.
Besides, demanding that the “trial be conducted in a fast track court”, protester Wasim Ahmed also demanded “an Act to be formed for such cases.”
“We want that the deputy commissioner who made an irresponsible statement be sacked immediately,” he added.
One of the women protesters said, "We have come out not only for demanding justice for Nilotpal and Abhijeet alone, but for all who have been victims of any kind of superstition. And this case should not continue for one or two years. We want speedy justice," reported PTI.
Protests were also organised at other spots in Numaligarh and Diphu.