Two youths were lynched in Assam's Karbi Anglong district on Friday evening after a fake post about 'child abductors' on social media went viral. This comes less than a fortnight after communal tensions in Shillong, which were triggered by rumors circulating on the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service.
The youth, identified as Nilotpal Das, an audio engineer and Abjijeet Nath, a digital artist, both residents of Guwahati, had gone to the hills for a vacation.
When the duo stopped to ask for directions, a mob of about 25 residents of Panjuri Kacharigaon, a tribal village about 200 km off Guwahati, suspected them to be khupadhora or child abductors. Das and Nath were then dragged out, tied and beaten to death. While one of them died on the spot, the other succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
The video of one of the men pleading for his life and repeatedly asserting that he's Assamese and not a child-lifter has found its way on social media, purportedly shot by one of the members of the mob.
The TOI quoted Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia as saying, "For the past few days, a Facebook post was being circulated that some child lifters have come to Assam. What happened in Karbi Anglong was a tragic fallout of people falling for such rumors."
Five people have been arrested in the case so far.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal said, "I urge everyone to maintain peace and social harmony and not to fall prey to rumors. Police have already arrested 5 suspects. We won't spare anyone and strictest of punishment will be given to the culprits."
Also see on HuffPost: