Eleven people have been arrested after a man was beaten to death and three others critically injured by a mob in Assam’s Biswanath district that suspected them to be cattle thieves on Thursday. All those arrested are from the Adivasi community who work in the Diplunga Tea Estate, about 250 km from Guwahati.
According to police sources, the incident took place early Thursday when a mob intercepted a small pick-up van and brutally beat up its occupants Deben Rajbongshi, Phoolchand Sahu, Bijoy Nayak and Pujen Rajbongshi suspecting them to be cattle thieves. Deben died of his injuries. The three others were admitted to a hospital. All of them are also from Adivasi community.
There was a fifth person in the van, one Papu Nayak, who fled before the attack took place and was believed to have been leading them.
In a video of the attack that has gone viral, the victims are seen bleeding and asking for mercy.
“We were in formed by the villagers that they caught cattle thieves with a van and cattle and some of the locals are brutally beating them. It was about 4:20 am that we got this phone call. We sent our team that took about 20 minutes to reach and rescued them. The video is part of the investigation and all angles are being looked at,” said senior police officer Diganta Kumar Choudhury told NDTV.
Police sources have also added that two cows recovered from the spot belong to Shankar Tanti, a resident of the area and the attack took place apparently after Tanti raised an alarm.
This incident comes close on the heels of the brutal killing of two Assamese young men in Assam’s Karbi Anglong districts after locals mistook them as child-abductors over BJP-RSS rumours. It follows a nationwide alarm over increasing incidents of mob lynching that have prompted the Supreme Court to ask the centre and state governments to act sternly against them.