Assam Police arrest 10 in Biswanath lynching case; prime witness says he is lucky to have escaped

Guwahati: The Assam Police on Thursday arrested 10 people in connection with the lynching case in the Diplonga Tea Estate of Biswanath district that left one dead.

The arrested people have been identified as Tufan Munda, Amit Ghatuwar, Deben Munda, Pranab Turi, Sankar Munda, Mahendra Kossa, Jibon Patar, Harising Patar, Karma Munda and Keshab Ghatowar. According to officials, they have been moved to Biswanath police station for further interrogation.

Deben Rajbongshi, 48, of Bholaguri Tea Estate in Gereki was lynched on Wednesday after he was accused of cattle theft by a mob of 20-22 people who assaulted three others. The survivors denied the allegations, saying they were in the area to buy pigs.

File image of Assam Police personnel. Reuters

File image of Assam Police personnel. Reuters

Manoj Baruah, officer-in-charge of Sootea Police Station where the case has been registered, said, “The prime witness of the incident, Pappu Nayak, has been able to identify some of these people. Preliminary investigation revealed that these people were playing an active role in the lynching,” Baruah said, adding that the accused were arrested from their houses in No.15 Line of Diplonga Tea Estate at around 5 pm on Thursday.

Nayak, who is still in a state of shock after losing his associate Rajbongshi, said he was fortunate enough to flee without being hurt. “But I could not save one of my men. I had to save my life from the clutches of the mob and I feel horrible now,” he said on Friday.

“I will not be able to recognise all of the accused, since the incident took place at around 4.10 am when it was pretty dark. But among the 10 arrested on Thursday, I immediately recognised the four people who attacked us first and later called upon others to join them,” he said.

“I saw the murderers of Deben Rajbongshi in the police station. I hope justice is served soon,” he further said.

Nayak claimed that in order to save himself, he ran 10 kilometres from the Diplonga Tea Estate to his house in Gereki, and said it was the 'longest run of my life to escape death.'

“Somebody from the mob tried to hit me with a machete on my back but I quickly turned and fell into a gorge. By then, they were hitting my people with iron roads, machete and sticks. I realised that they were going to kill us. So, I started running. I did not stop even once till I reached my village in Gereki. From there, I went to the Sootea police station where I was informed that a police team had gone to the spot (where we were attacked). So I returned to my house,” he said, adding that the villagers advised him to move to Borgang, which is 30 kms away.

“I took shelter in Borgang during the day and later, the police came and took me to the Sootea police station to record my statement,” Nayak said.

Officials added that out of the 10 arrested, Tufan Munda, Pranab Turi and Sankar Munda were the most active in carrying out the gruesome lynching whose video is now making rounds on social media.

(Syeda Ambia Zahan is a Guwahati-based freelance writer and a member of 101reporters.com)


Updated Date: Aug 17, 2018 20:44 PM

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