One of the prime accused in the lynching of two youths in Assam last week was arrested on Wednesday morning, officials said. He had allegedly made provocative phone calls spreading misinformation about the two men being child abductors.
The killing of Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath by a mob at Panjuri Kachari village of Karbi Anglong district has evoked widespread condemnation.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, a piece of misinformation that these two youths travelling in a black SUV had “kidnapped a child” led to an irate mob stopping their vehicle and beating them to death.
According to the police, Alphajoz Timung (35) — a resident of the Kangthilangso village — had confronted Nath and Das at Kangthilangso saying that they were child abductors.
“A slight altercation took place between Timung and the two men when Timung confronted them saying they have come here to abduct children, which the duo denied,” said DGP Kuladhar Saikia.
“Then, Timung called people in adjoining areas to tell them that the two kidnapped a child and were fleeing, leading to villagers gathering at the spot and stopping the vehicle,” Saikia said.
The mob stopped the SUV at an adjoining village Panjuri Kachari, and at a road trisection, Das and Nath were dragged out of the vehicle and beaten to death.
A top police officer in Karbi Anglong, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that after the incident Timung had gone into hiding.
“Timung drives a tempo and also owns a small stone quarry in partnership. During interrogation, he conceded that he had suspected the two men to be child abductors and hence made the calls. In the phone calls, however, he did not say he was suspicious, but conveyed that he was convinced the two men were child abductors,” the officer said.
The police have arrested 28 people for the lynching, and five for sharing on social media the video of the killing.