Congress MLA from Assam Siddique Ahmed on Monday claimed he had warned the authorities before the attack that Dimapur lynching victim Syed Sharif Khan could be in danger. “I had repeatedly told the deputy commissioner and SP of Dimapur that the crowd marching towards the Central Jail on March 5 could break open the jail gates and try to get to Khan. But they did not bother to act,” Ahmed, who represents Karimganj (South) constituency — from where Khan hailed — said on Monday.
Ahmed, who was minister for border areas development till CM Tarun Gogoi dropped him from the cabinet in July last year, also claimed he had informed Gogoi about incidents of shops run by Muslims being ransacked in Dimapur, a day ahead of the lynching.
“I was in touch with some persons of my constituency who work in Dimapur regarding the developments since the alleged rape. I called up the DC and SP of Dimapur and requested them to take action on March 4 when a mob pelted stones and attacked some shops. The next day, when a bigger crowd gathered at City Tower in Dimapur, I called up the DC and SP several times, pleading with them to take preventive measures,” Ahmed told The Indian Express.
“I was apprehensive that people from Assam who were working or running small businesses there would come under attack. When I got news of a huge crowd marching towards Central Jail, I called up the SP and DC again, telling them that the crowd could go to any extent. But they did nothing. The police remained a silent spectator,” Ahmed added.
“Later, the Dimapur Police was not willing to hand over Khan’s body to his wife. It was only after I kept pressing through our CM that the body was handed over,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the Assam Assembly, some opposition members raised alarm over a speech delivered by Ahmed in Karimganj following Khan’s death, in which he allegedly said he had informed Gogoi about the possibility of an attack beforehand.
Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi asked the state government to take up the matter with the Centre to find out the truth. The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, meanwhile, issued a showcause notice to Ahmed asking him to give in writing what he had said during Saturday’s Karimganj meeting.
“I did not say anything… I did say that I had shared my apprehensions with the CM on the first day. The next day, when I spoke with the Dimapur DC and SP, I also came to know that our CM already contacted the Nagaland government,” Ahmed said.
Dimapur DC Wezope Kenye and SP Meren Jamir, both of whom are under suspension, were unavailable for comments.