A 26-year-old man was lynched in Manipur’s Imphal West district on Thursday after being accused of stealing a vehicle by local residents, police said. Five people were arrested on Friday for the lynching, including a personnel of India Reserve Battalion (IRB).
Farooque Khan, belonging to Lilong Haoreibi in Thoubal district, was attacked by a mob at Tharoijam. The mob also destroyed a car in which Farooque and two others were travelling. The accused have been booked under IPC sections 302 (murder), 117 (abetting commission of offence by public or by more than 10 people) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). They were remanded in police custody for four days by a city court.
“Thirteen people were involved in the lynching of the youth and all of them have been identified. We have arrested five people and the rest will be nabbed soon,” said Imphal West Superintendent of Police, Jogeschandra Haobijam.
The SP said it was not clear if Farooque was involved in stealing vehicles. He said that the two persons, who were with Farooque and who managed to flee the scene, have also been identified.
A joint action committee (JAC) formed by residents of Lilong Haoreibi in connection with the incident claimed that Farooque was innocent and an MBA student. He had left home to meet a friend, it said on Friday. The JAC convened a public meeting on Saturday to discuss the future course of action in connection with the lynching.
Residents of Tharoijamon on Friday held a protest at the Patsoi police station against action taken in the case, demanding the release of the five people who were arrested. The protesters threw stones at policemen, forcing them to fire tear gas. The officer-in-charge of the police station was injured in the attack by the protesters.
Manipur DIG Jayenta Singh appealed to people to not take law into their hands and said that the police will not succumb to the pressure from the mob. “The duty of the police is to enforce the law and maintain order. The culprits were arrested for their involvement in attacking the youths. It is up to the court to decide whether the arrested persons are guilty or not,” Singh said.
The Manipur Human Rights Commission also took up the case suo motu in connection with the incident. It directed the Manipur DGP to probe the matter and submit a report by September 22.