The Assam Police has arrested 16 persons in connection with the lynching of two Guwahati-based youths in Karbi Anglong district by villagers who mistook them to be child abductors, authorities said .
The shocking incident saw protests and prayer meetings in different parts of the state . Hundreds of students organised protest marches across Guwahati, while in Chandmari area of the city police baton-charged protesters after scuffles broke out between the two sides.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwala said that police was on the lookout for more people involved in the Friday evening incident.
Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath were brutally killed by a mob near Kathilangso waterfall. The incident has been widely condemned.
Agarwala said that the situation in Dokmoka, where the killings took place, was under control.
“There was tension in the area following the incident but it is under control now,” he said.
“In four to five villages around Dokmoka, fake posts went viral on social media about ‘xopadhara’ or child abductors in the area. Preliminary investigation says that the people in the area suspected the two youths as child lifters and attacked them.
“We appeal to people not to believe rumours and social media posts. We also appeal to the people to inform the police immediately if they find anyone spreading rumours and hate messages,” Agarwala added.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal later in the day held a high-level meeting to take stock of the law and order situation in the state.
Sonowal asked Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia to ensure police vigil on all activities and to put an end to canards likely to vitiate public order and peace.
He said that no leniency should be shown to the culprits.
Chief Secretary T.Y. Das and Saikia told the media after the meeting that the state government had taken the lynchings very seriously.
“While 15 were arrested for their involvement in killing, one person was arrested for posting objectionable and fake information on the social media while the mob fury was on on Friday,” the DGP said.
The officer also appealed to the people not to pay heed to rumours. “We have instructed police in all Assam districts to take action against those spreading rumours,” he said.
A team headed by Additional DGP Harmeet Singh has been set up to strengthen web monitoring.