Those responsible for mob-lynching of a rape accused in Nagaland must be brought to justice: AI

Members of a mob who lynched a man suspected of rape in Dimapur, Nagaland must be brought to justice urgently, Amnesty International India said today.

Syed Farid Khan had been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in Dimapur on 24 February. He was arrested on 25 February and remanded in judicial custody in the Dimapur central jail. On 5 March, according to local police, a mob of thousands broke into the jail and dragged him out. He was then stripped naked, beaten, pelted with stones, and taken towards the centre of Dimapur town, seven kilometres away. Syed Farid Khan died from his injuries along the way. The mob then dragged his body to a clock tower and displayed it.

“This is a serious lapse in the criminal justice system,” said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. “The Nagaland government must ensure that every person who was part of the mob is brought to justice. Failure to do so will send the message that anyone can commit outrageous abuses and attempt to justify them as an expression of public anger.”

Police officials told journalists that they did not at first use force against the crowd because they wanted to avoid casualties. The police eventually opened fire to disperse the crowd, leading to the death of one person. The state government has suspended three senior police officials, including the chief of the Dimapur central jail, and ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

“Nagaland authorities must uphold the rule of law. Violence against women needs to be tackled with swift and effective responses from the state, not with barbarism by self-appointed vigilantes,” said Shemeer Babu.

(According to other reliable sources, the name of victim-deceased is Sayed Sharif Uddin Khan: BHRPC)

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