Lynch backlash alert in Assam

Gogoi moves Delhi, Zeliang

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 7.03.15
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Activists burn the effigies of Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Nagaland chief minister 
T.R. Zeliang on Friday in protest against the lynching in Dimapur. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati/Silchar, March 6: Assam was put on high alert today to prevent any fallout from the lynching of a rape accused in Nagaland with chief minister Tarun Gogoi condemning the incident and taking up the issue with his counterpart in Nagaland and the Centre.

Condemning the incident, Gogoi said, "The manner in which the man was dragged out of jail and killed brutally by a mob on the streets is highly condemnable. Nobody should take the law into their hands and stern action must be taken against those involved in the heinous crime.

"At the same time, the crime committed by the accused is equally condemnable. But law should have been allowed to take its own course."

The accused, Syed Farid Khan, who hailed from Karimganj in Assam, was dragged out of prison in Dimapur last evening and taken to the base of the clock tower, 7km away, by several hundred protesters and lynched.

Assam home commissioner L.S. Changsan said Gogoi held a meeting with senior police and other officials at his residence this afternoon to take stock of the situation following protests in Karimganj, Nagaon and other areas against the lynching. Gogoi has also written to Union home minister Rajnath Singh on the incident.

"All districts have been alerted, including the Guwahati police commissionerate. We have also registered a strong protest with the Nagaland government and the Union home ministry. We have asked them to ensure safety of the life and property of people from Assam in Nagaland and prevent a repeat. Such an incident is unacceptable. The Nagaland government has said that it has instituted a judicial inquiry to be completed within 45 days," Changsan said.

The protesters gather near the clock tower on Thursday

Dispur's concern was understandable because of protests in several minority-dominated areas, including a 12-hour bandh in Karimganj district.

Protesters also blocked National Highway 6 and raised slogans against the Nagaland government.

In many places like Badarpur, Lamajuar and Bhanga, people took to the streets.

A rally was held in Badarpur this evening demanding a CBI probe into the matter.

The protesters also threatened to launch a massive movement if the perpetrators were not booked soon.

In Nagaon, hundreds of All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) members took out a rally in protest against the incident and burnt the effigy of the "Nagaland government" in Haibargaon.

"We think this to be a part of a big conspiracy against minorities living in that state. There should be a CBI probe to unearth the truth," said AAMSU leader Riajuddin Khan. Protests were also held in Baksa district.

Assam PCC president Anjan Dutta issued a statement on behalf of the "people of Assam" to Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya, who also looks after Assam, seeking his intervention against the "inhuman activities" meted out against Assam residents in Nagaland.

"Ensuring normality in Nagaland will ensure that peace in the neighbouring states is not vitiated. Adequate compensation must also be given to Khan's family and owners of other businesses whose premises were looted," he said.

Former Assam minister and South Karimganj MLA Siddique Ahmed dubbed it "a brutal murder of humanity".

Footwear strewn around near the clock tower in Dimapur on Friday. Telegraph picture

"It was a ploy to harass and attack the non-Naga community living in Dimapur. The allegation against the rape accused was false," Ahmed said in Karimganj, demanding President's rule in Nagaland and security for non-Nagas living in that state.

Ahmed visited Khan's family this evening. Assam minister Rakibul Hussain and Badarpur MLA Jamal Uddin Ahmed also talked to the family members over telephone today and assured them of all help.

Karimganj deputy commissioner Sanjib Gohain Baruah said over telephone that security has been beefed up in the district to avoid any untoward incident.

"All police stations have been alerted and no incident of violence has taken place in any part of the district yet," he told The Telegraph.