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24 arrested for Meghalaya lynching

A poster displayed during a protest against mob lynching in Bengaluru. File   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The police in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya on Tuesday arrested 24 persons in connection with the lynching of a man on Sunday night.

The incident, triggered by rumours about childlifters spread through social media, was similar to the killing of Goa-based sound engineer Nilotpal Das and his friend Abhijeet Nath in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district in May 2018.

Read: Lynch mobs across India spurred by rumours

Witchcraft was initially believed to have made the villagers of Syntung attack a group of nine men from Shillong, who had gone there for a picnic.

One of the picnickers, identified as Macmillan Kharshandy, died and two others sustained serious head injuries.

“We picked up these people around 4 a.m. They said they presumed the nine men to be kidnappers as they were moving back and forth from one village to another at night. They had apparently been forewarned about the movement of suspicious people via social media,” District Superintendent of Police Claudia A. Lyngwa told The Hindu from Shillong.

The victims said they got late at the picnic spot and lost their way back at night, driving without a clue. Some villagers stopped and surrounded their vehicle and assaulted them.

“A majority of those who participated in the lynching have been sent to judicial custody, while six were sent to police custody,” Ms. Lyngwa said.

R. Pale, headman of Syntung village, said the elders had tried to control the mob in vain. “Some of the village elders went to the house of the victim in Shillong to pay their respects and apologise for the attack,” he said.

East Khasi Hills district has been on the edge since February 28 when a clash between tribal and non-tribal people left a member of the Khasi Students’ Union dead. Two more were stabbed to death later.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:10:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/24-arrested-for-meghalaya-lynching/article31033765.ece

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