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48 charged with murder in lynching of two in Assam

The district police are expected to file a charge sheet in another case it had registered against people circulating the video of the crime on social media.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2018 21:37 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam lynching case,Lynching,Karbi Anglong
Security personnel near a commemorative poster for two men, Abhijit Nath and Nilotpal Das, who were lynched nearby in Panjuri Kachari village, in Karbi Anglong district some 180km from Guwahati on July 10.(AFP Photo)

The Assam Police on Saturday charged 48 people with murder in the lynching of Abhijit Nath, a businessman and Nilotpal Das, a musician, confirming that they were killed on suspicion of being child-lifters. All the accused are in judicial custody.

The incident happened on June 8 in Panjuri Kachari village of the tribal Karbi Anglong district when the duo was waylaid by more than 200 member strong mob which suspected them to be Xopa Dhora (child lifters).

Assam director general of police, Kuladhar Saikia said the 46-page charge sheet, filed within 90 days, was part of a 900-page document submitted to the chief judicial magistrate court in Diphu (Karbi Anglong district headquarters).

All the 48 accused have been charged with murder although other charges vary according to their specific role in the crime, Saikia said refusing to reveal details of the document.

On the motive, a senior Karbi Anglong district police official said, “A mass hysteria took over after the rumour spread that the duo are Xopa Dhoras (child lifters). They could have let them go when they did not find any child in the car. But the mob decided to kill them.”

The ghastly lynching of the duo, who were pulled out of their black Scorpio and fatally assaulted by the mob, was videographed by the locals. In one of the videos, the victims are seen begging the assaulters to leave them, saying they are Assamese. Both Nilotpal (29) and Abhijit (30) lived in Guwahati.

It was a phone call from one Alphajoz Timung, who encountered the duo near Kangthilangso waterfall which led to the incident. Police officials had earlier said that the victims had an altercation with Timung after which he made a call to the villagers claiming that there was an abducted child in the vehicle.

“Yes, it was the call from Timung which alerted the villagers,” the Karbi Anglong police official confirmed.

Meanwhile, the district police are expected to file a charge sheet in another case it had registered against people circulating the video of the crime on social media. “It was first shared by a juvenile,” the senior official said.

The June incident had shook Assam as people came out in large numbers to protest for several days.

First Published: Sep 01, 2018 21:37 IST