Nagaland lynching: Centre seeks report from state; Assam on high alert

  • HT Correspondent and Agencies, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 07, 2015 10:58 IST

The Centre on Friday sought a report from Nagaland on the lynching of a rape accused by a mob in Dimapur and put neighbouring Assam on high alert in the wake of the incident. One person identified as Inito Swu, who was among the five injured in Thurday's police firing on the mob, succumbed to his injuries.

"We have sought a report from the Nagaland government about the incident and how a mob entered a jail and pull out an inmate," a home ministry official said.

Officials of the ministry are also in touch with the state government officials on bringing back normalcy in Dimapur, where situation in considered to be tensed. Three senior officials of Dimapur police, including the SP and the central jail chief, were suspended on Friday.

Meanwhile, home minister Rajnath Singh said that he had already discussed with senior officials about the incident and asked them to take necessary action.

"I have already discussed (it) with the officials concerned. All necessary steps have already been taken," he said.

The Nagaland government has formed a high-level panel to probe into the incident.

Chief minister TR Zeliang, unhappy with the way the district administration handled the incident, said action would be taken against erring officials. “We have formed a high-level committee to get to the root of the incident and fix responsibilities,” he said.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi condemned the incident. In a statement on Friday, Gogoi termed the act as ‘barbaric, heinous and inhuman’.

According to a press release issued by Gogoi's office, Zeliang has assured that necessary action would be taken against the perpetrators.

Dimapur police chief Meren Jamir said his force tried hard to control the situation despite being greatly outnumbered. “We fired tear gas shells and blank shots but nothing could deter the ever-swelling crowd that bulldozed its way into the jail,” he said.

Senior police officials who descended from state capital Kohima said they were studying video footage on mobile phones and cameras to identify those involved in the lynching.

The central government has also alerted neighbouring Assam and asked it to step up vigil so that no untoward incident takes place along its border with Nagaland, officials said.

Thousands of protesters had surrounded the offices of the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police on Wednesday, demanding that the alleged rapist named Syed Farid Khan, 35, be handed over to them.

The parents of a Naga girl had on February 23 lodged a complaint against Khan, a dealer of scrap and used cars, saying he had raped her several times that day. A migrant Muslim from Assam suspected to be a Bangladeshi national, Khan was subsequently sent to the central jail in Dimapur.

The protests continued on Thursday with members of several organisations led by Naga Students’ Federation marching to the Dimapur Municipal Council office, seeking cancellation of trade license to all Bengali-speaking Muslims.

As talks between the district authorities and the protesters failed, some 90,000 people marched to the fortress-like jail, broke open two large gates and dragged Khan out. They stripped and thrashed him while pushing him to the town’s landmark Clock Tower 7km away where a ‘public hanging’ had been planned.

Khan succumbed to his injuries half way to the lynching spot. But such was the anger that the protesters tied his limp body to a motorcycle and dragged it to the Clock Tower.

(With inputs from PTI)

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