In Assam’s Silchar, an accident becomes a “mob-lynching incident” – courtesy ‘rumours’

In Assam’s Silchar, an accident becomes a “mob-lynching incident” – courtesy ‘rumours’

By S. BHATTACHARJEE | November 13, 2018

On the night of November 5 (Monday) night, some posts about the lynching of a man in Silchar in south Assam surfaced on social media and went viral in no time. What followed three days later was a tumultuous incident with people in huge numbers coming out on streets, creating chaos in a busy locality and disrupting the peaceful atmosphere of the town.

The man being referred to here is 33-year-old Sujit Das, a resident of Tarani Road in Silchar. He passed away on Wednesday at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong in Meghalaya where he was taken after an accident. The mishap, however, became an incident of "mob lynching" later, courtesy rumours!

Talking to The Northeast Today, Angshuman Acharjee, one of the eye-witnesses of accident, said the mishap took place at Rangirkhari in Silchar around 10:30pm on Monday night when Sujit, who was riding on a scooty, hit a motor-cycle from behind as a result of which three persons including Sujit and a married couple, which was on the motor-cycle, suffered injuries.

Sujit's scooty, after hitting the bike, rammed into a pillar on the roadside owing to which he sustained critical injuries. Locals immediately gathered on the spot and recovered Sujit, along with Rupa Paul and her husband, who were on the bike.

Local ward commissioner Sajal Banik reached the spot following which Sujit, who was bleeding profusely, was sent to Silchar Medical College and Hospital on an ambulance. The married couple was sent to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw, he said.

Soon after the accident happened, gossips started doing the rounds that Sujit was lynched by a mob at Shiv Colony in Silchar over the issue of a mishap. The rumours apparently gained steam after several posts about the same were shared on social media. A large number of people shared the posts although there were no evidences (pictures/videos) to prove anything related to lynching.

Sujit was sent on Tuesday from Silchar Medical College and Hospital to NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday night.

A first information report was lodged by Sujit's wife, who (presumably believing the rumours) alleged that her husband was lynched. On Thursday night, Sujit's family members along with residents in massive numbers staged a road blockade keeping the dead body of Sujit on the road at Rangirkhari demanding arrest of those involved in the lynching.

Interestingly, slogans like "Jai Shree Ram" and "BJP Zindabaad, Congress Murdabaad" were raised during the road blockade, some of the eye-witnesses said.

Receiving the information about the incident, a team of police followed by Cachar additional superintendent of police Rakesh Reddy and a magistrate Dhrubajyoti Pathak rushed to the spot. The blockade was withdrawn after around two-and-a-half-hours after Reddy assured the enraged people that those involved in the alleged killing of Sujit would be held within 24 hours.

The entire episode has raised a number of questions like – How an accident became an incident of mob lynching despite the absence of any evidence? What was the motive behind spreading the rumours and who spread it? Why those trying to misrepresent the incident have not been detected by the authorities concerned so far? As of now, the answers are unknown.

Speaking about the matter, Sajal Banik said it was a case of accident. He suspected a conspiracy was being hatched to defame the residents of Shiv Colony area using the incident and claimed that the entire incident was orchestrated for some political gains.

Cachar superintendent of police Rakesh Roushan told The Northeast Today on Saturday that all the evidences and information had revealed that it was a case of accident and nothing else.

He said it was found during investigation that Sujit had received grievous injuries, especially on his head, which eventually resulted in his death. Medical reports will be available soon, he said.

"The matter is being probed thoroughly. All the facts will come to light soon," he said.

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