Mob fury in Nagaland: Rape accused stoned to death, 1 killed in police firing
The man, identified as 35-year-old Syed Farid Khan, had been in custody after being arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a girl who was his neighbour multiple times between 23 and 24 February.
In a shocking incident of mob justice, a 1,500 strong crowd broke into a jail in Dimapur district in Nagaland, and lynched a man accused of raping a girl.
The man, identified as 35-year-old Syed Farid Khan, was in custody after being arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a girl who was his neighbour multiple times between 23 and 24 February.
According to one report, Khan dealt in second hand vehicles and had called the girl over for a meal but then raped her after she was intoxicated. He then reportedly took her to a hotel where she was sexually assaulted again.
After the girl filed a complaint with the police on 24 February, Khan was arrested on the same day.
However, the issue was also taken up by the Naga Student's Forum, the Western Sumi Hoho and other groups, due to the girl being from the Naga community.
A lot of the anger over the incident had been reportedly sparked by the fact that Khan was seen as an illegal immigrant.
A protest rally had been organised at the clock tower in the district headquarters on Thursday to protest the incident. the police had given permission for a peaceful rally to be held.
But around 4 pm, a mob marched to the Dimapur district jail, where police officials reportedly used batons and tear gas, but were unable to control the crowd.
While some reports said that the mob overpowered the guards, according to the Telegraph, the jail authorities let the protesters inspect the cells so that they could then identify the accused who had been shifted there from the police station. In the chaos, three other inmates, who have been charged under sections of the National Security Act also fled, said the report.
After finding Khan, the mob reportedly stripped him and then dragged him in the streets to the site of the protest, stoning him and beating him along the entire the 7-km route, according to an Indian Express report.
Khan had succumbed to his injuries by the time the mob reached the site of the protest but when the police attempted to take the body back, the mob began pelting stones. The police then had to disperse the protesters using batons but the mob went on to target shops in the Purana Bazar area of the district, where Khan had owned a shop. One person was reportedly killed in police firing.
Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang condemned the incident saying it wasn't a a communal incident and called it a serious security lapse.
"I condemn those who take the law into their own hands," he said.
The state has sent additional forces to the district to prevent any further violence. An emergency cabinet meeting also was held at at the residential office of the chief minister to take stock of the law and order situation in Dimapur.
The state government has also instituted a high-level committee to inquire into the incident and find out the circumstances leading to it. The committee will also inquire into the lapses or shortcomings on the part of any public servant in connection with the incident and the person or group of persons responsible for the violence leading to the death of the accused in the hands of the mob.
Meanwhile the Home Ministry has also asked the Nagaland government for a report into the incident.
The additional district court was to pronounce the verdict on Tuesday. Judge Kshama Joshi, however, adjourned the verdict to 12 May
The clashes come in the backdrop of a sweeping win for the ruling Trinamool Congress after a bitter and acrimonious fight with the Opposition BJP
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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee urged TMC supporters to maintain peace and asked them not to fall prey to provocations