Duo lynched in Karbi Anglong

Two youths from Guwahati were lynched by a mob in Karbi Anglong district of central Assam on Friday night on suspicion of being child-lifters. Their bodies were brought to their homes here around 9pm on Saturday.

By SARAT SARMA and SUMIR KARMAKAR in Nagaon
  • Published 10.06.18
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The Scorpio in which the victims were travelling. Picture by UB Photos

Nagaon/Guwahati: Two youths from Guwahati were lynched by a mob in Karbi Anglong district of central Assam on Friday night on suspicion of being child-lifters. Their bodies were brought to their homes here around 9pm on Saturday.

Nilotpal Das, a 29-year-old sound engineer based in Goa, who had come home recently, had left for Karbi Anglong in central Assam with his friend Abhijit Nath, 30, around 10am on Friday.

Police said the duo, who were travelling in Nath's black Mahindra Scorpio (AS 01 DR 4161), stopped at Panijuri, a picturesque village in Diphu subdivision of the hill district, while returning from nearby Kansi Langso waterfall around 8pm. The village is around 250km from here.

"The villagers suspected foul play as the duo looked different due to their long hair," an official of Dokmoka police station, under which the village falls, said. What ensued is still not clear but a mob attacked the two youths.

Dokmoka police got information of the attack around 8.45pm and rushed to the spot. The two, however, succumbed to their injuries before they could be taken to hospital, deputy commissioner Mridul Kumar Mahanta said. Police brought their car to Dokmoka police station, which is 18km from the village, at night.

Dokmoka police said investigation revealed that there nearly 250 people in the mob. Five persons have been arrested from Panijuri and efforts are on to arrest more. They are investigating why the villagers attacked the youths.

A cell phone video of the incident, which went viral on social media on Saturday, showed Nilotpal screaming that he was Assamese. He mentioned his parents' names while pleading with the mob.

Nilotpal's family said when a woman friend called his number, a man in the mob answered the phone and said they had killed him, without citing any reason.

It is suspected that the villagers could have mistaken the duo to be child lifters as they were roaming around the village after sunset. The police said rumours had been doing the rounds on social media that child-lifters from outside Assam were roaming in the state. 

"We came to know that they had visited the site in search of ornamental fish. But if that is true why did they visit the interior place at night?" asked Sarthe Rangpi, a businessman at Dokmoka, situated around 180km from Diphu, the district headquarters.

Abhijit was fond of ornamental fish. His father, Ajit Nath, a district agriculture officer in Morigaon district, said he had dropped out of engineering for health reasons and was fond of visiting places of natural beauty. Abhijit was his only child. "How can people just kill two boys without any trial for their mistakes, if any? As a father, I ask them how would they feel if their children are also killed on the streets like this," he asked.

Nilotpal, who loved music and nature, had studied sound engineering in Mumbai after completing BCom from Delhi University and was working at a studio in Goa.

As the bodies of Nilotpal and Abhijit reached their homes at Navagraha and Chachal respectively around 9pm, their family members were inconsolable. Abhijit's father hugged his son's body. Nilotpal's body was taken to Navagraha crematorium half an hour later. Friends and neighbours accompanied the bodies to the crematorium.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal asked the police to ensure speedy investigation and arrest the culprits.