Guwahati/Silchar/Kohima: A mob in Nagaland barged into the Dimapur Central Jail on Thursday afternoon, dragged out a rape accused and lynched him. Police said a mob of around 4,000 people stormed the central jail after breaking the two gates and took the accused out of jail and paraded him naked to the city tower in the heart of Dimapur town, thrashing him along the way. By the end, he succumbed to his injuries.
Khan's body was airlifted on Saturday in a special Indian Air Force plane to his home in Bosla village in Karimganj, around 350 kilometres away from Guwahati.
This has resulted in widespread protests at several places including Guwahati. The situation continues to remain tense along the Assam-Nagaland border.
Syed Farid Khan, a 35-year-old second hand car dealer, had allegedly raped a 20-year-old Naga woman on February 23 and 24 at different locations. Police arrested Khan on February 25 and later a lower court sent him to judicial custody.
Farid was branded as Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrant (IBI) even as it emerged that several of his family members had served in the defence forces. One of his brothers is serving in the Army while another, who had served the force, was killed in the Kargil War.
Their father, Syed Hussain Khan, had served the IAF. He died after retirement.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held the Central government responsible for the incident. He said the security at the Central Jail was manned by the Central forces.
In Kohima, Nagaland Police spokesman Joseph Hesso said: "There is no fresh incident reported from anywhere in Nagaland. The situation is normal both in capital city Kohima and commercial town Dimapur."
He said a huge contingent of security forces, including paramilitary troopers, were deployed in Dimapur, Kohima and other areas having a mixed population.
Truckers in Assam on Saturday stopped plying their vehicles from here to Dimapur and other parts of Nagaland in protest against the lynching of a rape accused in Nagaland's commercial hub Dimapur on Thursday.
At least 17 truckers' bodies in Assam said on Saturday that the protest will continue until the victims' family gets justice.
“The killing of Syed Farid Khan, a Dimapur-based businessman from Assam, is an inhuman act. The Nagaland government must provide adequate compensation to the family of the victim and ensure that no other traders or businessman of Assam is harassed in Nagaland,” said a member of the All Assam Truck Owners' Association.
The truckers' bodies also complained about the harassment of truckers by several sections in Nagaland, particularly by the militant outfits on ceasefire in the form of illegal tax collection.
However, the Nagaland government is yet to make any arrest in connection with Thursday's lynching of a rape accused in Dimapur, as the central government on Saturday asked the state to take strict action against those behind the incident.
Khan's brother Jamal Uddin Khan claimed that his brother was framed in the rape case as the medical examination of the girl, who alleged rape, indicated that there had been no sexual assault.
Syed Farid Khan, a 35-year-old second hand car dealer, was accused of raping a 20-year-old Naga woman on February 23 and 24 at different locations. Police arrested him on February 25 and a lower court sent him to judicial custody.
Khan was dragged out of Dimapur's high-security central jail by an angry mob, paraded naked and then thrashed to death on Thursday, forcing the authorities to clamp curfew in Dimapur district.
In New Delhi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asked the Nagaland government to take strict action against the people involved in the lynching of Khan.
The Nagaland government has instituted a judicial probe into the incident and suspended three top official of the district — the Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police and Jail Superintendent — for their failure to handle the situation.
The Chief Minister had assured security to all the non-locals in Dimapur and other parts of the hilly State and said that the culprits will be brought to the book soon.
The incident has created panic among the people, particularly among the trader community, as the protesters demanded the administration to cancel trade licenses of all non-local businessmen in the town.
International Human Rights body, Amnesty International has also expressed its concern over the killing and said that members of the mob who lynched the rape accused must be brought to justice urgently.
“This is a serious lapse in the criminal justice system. The Nagaland government must ensure that every person who was part of the mob is brought to justice. Failure to do so will send the message that anyone can commit outrageous abuses and attempt to justify them as an expression of public anger,” said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.
The Nagas had launched a ‘Survival Nagaland' campaign sometime ago to rid the state of the IBIs. It was launched against the backdrop of the alarming rise in the population of Bengali Muslims, who control business in Dimapur. Back in 2008, hundreds of Bengali Muslim traders were evicted from the state's Mokokchung town in the wake of such a campaign. These days, such campaigns are carried out through the social media, which is believed to have played a part in whipping up the anti-IBI sentiment.