Two days after the lynching of two men -- 29-year-old Nilotpal Das and 30-year-old Abhijeet Nath -- the police have arrested 23 suspects, even as Nilotpal's parents recounted the events of the day that their son was killed by a lynch mob in Assam's Karbi Anglong district.
Nilotpal's father, Gopal Chandra Das, a retired government employee, told The Indian Express that he had warned his son to take a group of friends along with him when he informed his parents that he would go to an interior area. But Das said that Nilotpal said he had faith in the people of his state and told his parents not to worry.
Nilotpal and his friend Abhijeet were lynched by a mob of allegedly 500 people on suspicion of being child abductors. Both residents of Guwahati were on their way to a vacation and had asked for direction at the Panjuri Kacharigaon when the mob attacked them. One of them died on the spot and the other succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
Nilotpal's mother Radhika Das says that he would travel because he was a musician.
Talking about his solo bike ride to Guwahati, she told The Indian Express, "Nothing happened to him during his long rides, but in his own home state..."
Reports say rumours and fake news fuelled the mob that attacked the two friends who were driving an SUV.
Another report in The Indian Express said that all it took was people to say "there is a child inside the car" for the angry mob to gather.
An eyewitness told the newspaper on Monday, "It seems people called their friends in neighbouring villages and said that a child abductor has been caught. People walked or travelled on bikes to join in, and in my opinion, the crowd strength was at least 500 at one point."
Some people allegedly tried to stop the mob, but in vain.
Meanwhile, the police, having arrested suspects, say some are still on the run.
JS Khowbung, the officer in-charge of the Dokmuka police station told Hindustan Times, "The person who is alleged to have made that phone call, and some others involved in the attack on Friday, are still on the run."
A silent sit-in protest was held in Guwahati demanding justice for Nilotpal and Abhijeet.
PTI reported that Assamese singer Zubeen Garg led the protest at Judges' Field, next to the Gauhati High Court, that was attended by actors, artistes and citizens.
The report quoted Garg as saying, "The culprits should be caught and hanged. There should not be any other solution."