DGP: Tiff led to murders

Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by Manash Das

Guwahati: Assam police on Wednesday said the "prime accused" arrested in Friday's Karbi Anglong lynching told them that his quarrel with the two victims near a waterfall led him to inform villagers over mobile phone that they were child-lifters, which led to their murders.

Alphajoz Timung, a 25-year-old resident of Kanthilangso village where Nilotpal Das and Abhijit Nath had gone on Friday evening and was killed by a mob a couple of kilometres away later, was arrested from Belurghat, a neighbouring village.

"The preliminary interrogation has revealed that the two youths had a quarrel with Timung after he called them hopadhora or child-lifters. The duo left the place in their car but Timung was so angry that he told the other villagers that they had picked up a village child in their car and asked them to chase the car. The message spread fast and villagers stopped the car in Panijuri village and beat them up. But we are not yet clear why Timung had suddenly suspected them to be child-lifters," director-general of police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia said.

The police had earlier said Das and Nath, both residents of Guwahati, were attacked following "fake news" spread on social media that "child-lifters" had entered their area in a car.

Saikia said Binod Lahkar, who was also asked by Timung to chase the victims, was arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the murders. Lahkar was arrested from Sonapur on the city's outskirts where he was taking shelter. This took the total number of arrests to 28 in the lynching case while 35 others were arrested for uploading "disturbing posts" on social media to instigate people against people from Karbi Anglong and also for video recording the incident and sharing it on social media.

Saikia said Timung, an auto-rickshaw driver, had been also involved in the murder of another girl in that village a few months ago and was out on bail. Investigation was on and they sought trial in a fast-track court, he added. Assam law minister Siddhartha Bhattacharjee echoed Saikia.

The DGP and commissioner of police, Guwahati, Hiren Chandra Nath visited the residence of Nilotpal Das here.


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