No arrest yet in Dimapur lynching; victim’s body reaches Assam

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Dimapur/Guwahati: 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.

A Nagaland Police official in Dimapur said efforts were on to identify those involved in the killing of Syed Farid Khan and that they would be brought to book soon.

The Nagaland authorities on Saturday handed over the body of Khan to his family in Khatkhati area on the Assam-Nagaland border. Later, his body was taken to his native village in Assam’s Karimganj district.

Tension gripped Badarpur area in the district after the arrival of the body as the people became agitated over the brutal killing. There was, however, no untoward incident reported from the area.

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.

“Rajnath Singh spoke to Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang and asked him to be mindful of the law and order in the state and take strict action against people involved in lynching of a man,” a home ministry official told IANS.

Meanwhile, the chief minister on Saturday admitted to administrative lapses.

“We have ordered an inquiry into what happened. Any officer found guilty in the case will be punished. As of now situation on the ground is under control,” he told reporters in Kohima.

Zeliang on Friday suspended the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police of Dimapur district for their failure in tackling the situation.

In Kohima, Nagaland Police spokesman Joseph Hesso told IANS: “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.

Earlier, another Nagaland Police official said: “The situation has improved but we have decided to continue the curfew in Dimapur. There has been adequate deployment of forces in and around the town to ensure that there is no backlash.”

The Nagaland and Assam governments have put the forces on alert to ensure security to the non-locals living in both the states.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi asked police and other security forces to be alert and said no non-local should feel insecure due to what happened in Dimapur.

Gogoi on Saturday blamed the central government for the incident in Dimapur and said the security in the jail was under the central forces, who failed to stop the lynching.

The Assam chief minister has also written to the union home minister to ensure that proper action was taken against those responsible for the lynching.

He also appealed to Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya (who is holding additional charge of Assam) to take necessary action to ensure that the guilty were booked and punished.

Several organisations in Assam, including the All Minority Students’ Union, on Saturday held demonstrations at different places in the state to protest against the brutal killing.

Various political and non-political groups have called a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh on Sunday in Assam’s Barak Valley, where Karimganj district is located, to protest the lynching.

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