Three senior officials of Dimapur, including the SP and the Central jail chief, were suspended on Friday, a day after a rape suspect was dragged out of the prison and lynched by a mob in this Nagaland town where the situation was stated to be tense but under control. One person, who was among the five injured in police firing on the mob, succumbed on Saturday, police told PTI.
Dimapur authorities on Friday told AFP they had imposed a round-the-clock curfew, a day after a rape accused was pulled out of jail and lynched by a mob.
Neighbouring Assam was put on high alert by the Centre following the incident in Dimapur as the rape accused Farid Khan is believed to be from that state. Khan had allegedly raped a Naga woman several times before he was arrested on February 25.
According to a report in The India Express, the police said they could not use force to save the rapist as the lynch mob was led by college and school-going girls. “How could I use maximum force when there were hundreds of girls in school and college uniforms in the front of a massive mob? It was difficult. There would have been several casualties,” Dimapur SP Meren Jamir told The Indian Express.
Infuriated by the alleged rape, the mob had forced its way into the Central jail on Thursday, pulled Khan out before lynching him. Karai Chawang, Press Officer to Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeilang, told PTI on phone from Kohima that a meeting of the state cabinet decided to suspend the district collector, SP and SP, Central Jail, for “their failure to control the situation.”
The meeting also decided to arrest all those involved in pulling the rape suspect out of the prison on Thursday, parading him naked and lynching him, he said. Chawang identified the deceased rape suspect as Farid Khan.
One person was injured in police firing on the mob and he later succumbed to his injuries, Meren Jamir, Superintendent of Police of Dimapur, said earlier, adding in all four to five people had sustained injuries in the action. He said curfew remained in force in Dimapur where the situation was “under control.”
Jamir said police could not prevent the mob attack on the jail as the securitymen were vastly outnumbered and there were several school children in the mob.
Asked to comment on reports that the rape accused was a Bangladeshi immigrant, Jamir said “I cannot tell you anything on that now and it is a matter of investigation.”
Posse of riot police personnel patrolled the streets of Dimapur. Zeliang said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the mob attack to ascertain if there had been any lapse in security.
Chawang said the cabinet meeting decided to take steps to protect the minority community members amid reports that business establishments owned by them had come under attack in the wake of the rape incident. He also said that Khan’s family would be given ex-gratia.
The Centre meanwhile sought a report from Nagaland government on the lynching of the rape accused by a mob and put neighbouring Assam on high alert in the wake of the incident.
“We have sought a report from Nagaland government about the incident and how a mob entered a jail and pull out an inmate,” a Home Ministry official said in New Delhi. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he has already discussed with senior officials about the incident and asked them to take necessary action.
The central government has also alerted neighbouring Assam and asked it to step up vigil so that no untoward incident takes place along its border with Nagaland, officials said.
Zeliang assured Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi that necessary action would be taken against those who had broken into Dimapur jail and lynched the rape accused. In a telephonic conversation, the Nagaland Chief Minister Zeliang told Gogoi that a probe into the incident has already been initiated and anyone found guilty would be punished, according to an Assam government release. Zeliang also said if there were lapses on part of the officials, then necessary steps would be taken against them too.
With inputs from PTI