Assam lynching: CM to introduce sensitisation programme

Guwahati, June 12 (PTI): The Assam government plans to introduce an awareness programme in all development blocks and panchayats of the state in the wake of incidents triggered by superstition and rumours, including the lynching of two persons in Karbi Anglong district recently.


A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here last evening, an official release said today.


Two friends – Nilotpal Das (29) and Abhijeet Nath (30) – were on Friday pulled out of their vehicle at Panjuri in Karbi Anglong district and beaten to death by a group of irate villagers, who suspected them to be child-lifters.


The incident was recorded by locals on their mobile phones and circulated on social media.


A total of 24 people have been arrested in connection with the assault.


Sonowal asked the authorities to frame modalities and a roadmap for implementing the awareness programme ‘Sanskaar’ at all levels, in coordination with local bodies, women organisations and media persons.


“Assam is known all over India for its unique hospitality and people coming from all over the country must feel an ambience of friendliness where ever they go in the state,” the release said quoting the chief minister.


Giving details of the investigation process, a police spokesman said a man was picked up this morning from Karbi Anglong district during a search operation for his involvement in the lynching episode.


Five others were also apprehended today from Diphu town of Karbi Anglong district for misuse of social media in connection with the incident, he said.


“Those arrested from Diphu town were involved either in recording the incident on mobile phones or circulating the video clip on social media with statements and comments to incite hatred between communities,” the spokesman said.


The crackdown on the misuse of social media was launched by the police after initial investigations suggested that messages posted on social media about child-lifters entering the state from outside may have led to the lynching.


The police have also issued an advisory asking people to refrain from spreading rumours on social media.


Meanwhile, RTI activist and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi today demanded a CBI probe into the episode and accused the RSS-BJP of “indulging in politics” to divert peoples’ attention from “real issues”.


“What has happened is an unbelievable ghastly act. Strangely, the government has formed an SIT headed by the Karbi Anglong SP, who was responsible for jurisdiction of the area where the crime took place. It will be a mockery of probe. We demand a CBI enquiry into the case,” Gogoi told PTI.


The RSS and the BJP are indulging in “politics of superstition and rumours”, he said.


“The saffron parties are the ones spreading rumours and communally polarised fake news. These two youths have become the victims of such rumours spread through social media,” Gogoi added.


Earlier in the day, the parents of Nilotpal Das urged people to desist from politicising the issue.


“We are grateful to all for extending their support to us in this hour of grief but we appeal to all to maintain peace and calm,” they said in a statement issued here.