22 arrested over Nagaland lynching

Guwahati/Dimapur: Twenty-two people have so far been arrested for their alleged involvement in the lynching of a rape accused in Nagaland's Dimapur town, officials said on Sunday.

The government also blocked SMS and MMS services across the state in a move to control the social media, which had seemingly played a role in instigating the mob for the violence.

An irate mob had broken into the central jail in Dimapur on Thursday, dragged out the rape accused, stripped him naked and paraded him in the streets and finally brutally thrashed him to death.

"A total of 22 people have been arrested so far for their involvement in the death of rape accused Syed Farid Khan. We are examining video footage and more arrests are likely," said a senior official of the Dimapur administration.

Syed Farid Khan, a 35-year-old second-hand car dealer, was accused of raping a 20-year-old Naga woman on February 23 and 24 at different locations. Police arrested Khan on February 25 and a lower court sent him to judicial custody. On March 5, an irate crowd dragged him out of jail and lynched him.

Curfew has been imposed in the town from 3 p.m. till midnight. All security measures are being taken. "We are going to continue with the night curfew till substantial improvement of the situation," said the official.

The Nagaland government asked the telecom department to block SMS and MMS services across the state and it was done immediately.

The restriction will continue till further instructions.

Although telephone and internet services continued, the services were erratic.

The Nagaland government had suspended three top officials including the police superintendent, the deputy commissioner and jail superintendent of Dimapur for their failure to handle the situation and ordered a judicial probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, a 12-hour bandh called by civil society organisations to protest against the brutal killing affected normal life in Assam's Barak Valley districts.

Protestors blocked many roads in Barak Valley, leading to problems in vehicular movement. There was, however, no major untoward incident.

Khan's body was on Sunday buried in his native village Bosla near Badarpur town in Karimganj district amid tight security.

Nagaland authorities had handed over Khan's body to his family in Khatkhati area on the Assam-Nagaland border on Saturday. The body was later taken to his native village.

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