New Delhi: A 29-year-old Manipuri BPO employee was beaten to death here early Monday by five youths, of which three were promptly arrested. The brutal attack sparked outrage in the northeastern community.
Akha Salouni was assaulted around 1 a.m following a spat with the assailants while he was going to a friend's house in Kotla Mubarakpur area in south Delhi to spend the night.
According to the first information report (FIR) which was accessed by IANS, Akha Salouni and two of his friends - Nagendra Sharma and Dihe Kazhihrii - were coming from Masoorpur in Vasant Kunj in an auto-rickshaw.
"As they entered Kotla Mubarakpur, they came across a white coloured Hyundai Verna, which stopped on seeing the auto-rickshaw," said the FIR filed by Kazhihrii, who hails from Nagaland.
According to the report, five-six men aged between 25-30 got down from the car and started shouting "maro maro", following which they surrounded Akha Salouni and beat him up.
"Watching one of the five men attacking Salaouni, approaching towards Kazhihrii and Nagendra, the two fled the spot," said the FIR.
Kazhihrii, who ran towards his house in Kotla Mubarakpur, later made a call to the police control room (PCR) van around 2 a.m.
"Later, when the two returned to the spot, they found that Salouni was lying unconscious and within a few minutes he was dead," the report said.
Police, who arrived around 2.50 a.m., took Salouni to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Police later in the day arrested three of the five accused - Sanjay Basoya, 24, Shakti Basoya, 21, and Raju, 25 - on charges of attacking Salouni.
According to police, all three belong to Garhi area in south Delhi but were picked up from various places in the capital.
However, the statements of the three accused gave a different version of the incident.
As per police, the accused said they were travelling in a white Hyundai Verna car, and when they came across the auto-rickshaw, they blew the horn and sought the right to overtake.
"However, the auto-rickshaw didn't give them any space to overtake, and instead the three people travelling in it used abusive language against them," the accused claimed during their interrogation.
The five people in the car later intercepted the auto-rickshaw, got down from the car and were involved in an argument with them.
Salouni's body has been preserved at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), and the two other accused at still at large, police said.
This was the second fatal attack on a young man from the northeast in Delhi in six months.
A 19-year-old Arunachal Pradesh student, Nido Tania, died after being beaten up with iron rods and sticks by men after an altercation with a shopkeeper in a south Delhi market, not far from Kotla Mubarakpur.
Monday's attack shocked the northeast community in Delhi.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, a Lok Sabha member from Arunachal Pradesh, said: "We are very much disturbed by such incidents against the people from the northeast. We are going through a very comprehensive inquiry on the whole matter so that it can be dealt very effectively."
"The case is being probed from all angles as there seems to be no sudden provocation," he added.
Police are analysing the call details of the victim's mobile phone. They also seized the footage of a CCTV camera installed outside a shop at the spot.
"It is very unfortunate that such incidents against people from the northeast are on the rise," M.P. Bezbaruah, chairperson of the Bezbaruah Committee formed by the government after Tania's attack, told IANS.
The committee was tasked to suggest remedial measures to address concerns of the northeastern people in metro cities.
"There is an urgent need for intervention by the police and the government," Bezbaruah said.
J.T. Tagam, a leader from the Northeastern Student's Union, said: "There are many areas in the city where police patrolling is lacking. Even in the area where this incident took, police patrolling is not a regular feature."