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55-year-old man lynched in broad daylight in Assam’s Karimganj district

January 26, 2019

55-year-old man lynched in broad daylight in Assam’s Karimganj district

Silchar: The lynching of a 55-year-old man in broad daylight by a mob at Malipara, near Fakirabazar, in southern Assam’s Karimganj district has sparked tension, especially in the village, which has apparently been on the boil for the past one week. The gruesome incident took place on January 18. Malipara is a village under Karimganj North constituency, around 8 km Karimganj city.

Abdul Matin, a wage-earner by profession, was killed by a group of people on the suspicion that he stole an iron item from a school. He was a resident of Borsila village under Akbarpur gaon panchayat in Karimganj district. There were thirteen members in the family including Abdul. Wife Kamala Begum, seven sons Javed Ahmed, Jubair Ahmed, Jorir Ahmed, Jakir Ahmed, Tarjan Ahmed and Arjan Ahmed and four daughters Moynara Begum, Dilara Begum, Shamina Begum and Razina Begum. After Abdul’s death, there are twelve members in the family.

Speaking to 101Reporters, Javed Ahmed said his father Abdul, around 9:30 am on January 18, went to the nearby market. (Javed and the other family members were at home at that time). After some time, they heard that there was a scuffle near the market area and his father was being beaten by some people. The market is approximately 1km from their house.

“I immediately rushed to the area and ended up finding my father lying on the road, bleeding profusely and was almost unconscious circled by some people. As I approached near, the people threatened that they would do the same what they did with my father if I called the police and tried to take him to the hospital. I was already extremely nervous and scared. I was shivering,” Javed said.

“After some time, police came to the spot and sent him to the hospital. Had he been taken to the hospital earlier, he would have perhaps been alive,” he said. On being asked why the people killed his father, he said he was not sure about the reason. He suspected that his father was perhaps killed because of some past revenge or something like that.

Abdul earned around Rs. 14,000-15,000 in a month as daily wage labourer and maintained the family with great difficulties. Now, the family’s responsibility is on his shoulders, said Javed who is a driver by profession and currently the only earner in his family.

Javed, who lodged an FIR regarding the incident, said he had identified five people on the spot (against whom the FIR was filed). The five persons are Kajal Malakar, Swapan Chanda, Pajen Malakar, Rinku Malakar and Rabindra Malakar. Some more people were also there but I could not identify them, he said.

Some local residents said there is a school in the area from which items were often stolen from time to time. On January 18, an iron grill, which was stolen from that school, was found with Akaddus Ali. Akaddus collects thrown-away items like iron items and such other things from different areas. When residents asked him about the grill, Akaddus got nervous and told he purchased the grill from Abdul.

Abdul, who co-incidentally was passing through the area, was thereafter gheraoed by the residents over the matter. Eventually, he was assaulted relentlessly owing to which he got grievously injured and fell unconscious on the road.

Abdul Matin’s home. Picture credit: Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee

Receiving the information of the incident, police reached the spot after which Abdul, who was bleeding profusely, was rushed to Karimganj Civil Hospital. Considering his critical condition, he was shifted to Silchar Medical College and Hospital. On January 19, Abdul succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The news of Abdul’s death spread like wildfire and led to chaotic scenes at Fakirabazar with a large number of people coming out on streets and gathering near Abdul’s house. The enraged residents were about to stage a protest soon in the area after which Karimganj North MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha reached the spot and tried to pacify the protesters. He assured that the assailants would be arrested following which the residents decided to call off the protest.

The situation, however, became volatile once again in the evening when Abdul’s dead body was brought. A huge number of people blocked National Highway-8 at Fakirabazar keeping the dead body on the highway in protest against the barbaric act. Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha along with police arrived at the spot within a short while and talked to the protesters. Karimganj Sadar Circle Officer R. Deka reached the spot after some time. It was assured that the assailants would be held within 24 hours after which the blockade was withdrawn.

The protesters thereafter marched with the dead body. The last rites were performed at night.

Safiul Ahmed, a local resident, said Abdul had a business at Ladrymbai in Meghalaya and was a settled man once, but he faced huge losses in the business around twenty years ago after which he slipped into depression and came to his village (present residence) and started living here. He got into addiction since the past six to seven years, including alcohol and some other forms of addiction (drugs may be, not sure), he said.

M. Islam, a local resident, said all the culprits must be arrested and stern action be taken against them. “We will be bound to go for vehement protest if the assailants are not held soon,” he said. Zakir Hussain, another resident of the area, said the situation is “somewhat calm” now, but some tension is palpable. There is anger among people as all the assailants/accused have not been arrested yet, he said.

Local residents were unsure if the incident had anything to do with the religion of the victim. When asked, local residents dismissed the idea of killing Abdul because of his religious identity. Minor incidents like quarrels and brawls happen over issues at times between people of different communities, but otherwise, it is a peaceful area. The assailants would not have thought perhaps that he (Abdul) would die in the assault, they said.

Some of Abdul Matin’s family members. Picture credit: Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee

One of the persons (who was present near the spot on that day) said on the condition of anonymity that Abdul was brutally beaten by a group of people. Few people had tried to save Abdul, but the assailants threatened of dire consequences if anyone tried to intervene. Out of fear, nobody came forward, he said.

The assault was recorded by few eye-witnesses. Videos of the incident had gone viral on social media. All the accused are from the same area.

Karimganj North MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha told 101Reporters that the incident has startled the district, particularly the area, and people are still not able to get over it.

Purkayastha, who has personally provided an amount of Rs. 1 lakh to the deceased’s family, said he is looking into the case so that financial assistance can be given by the government. The government has also been urged for a job to one of the family members of the deceased, he said.

Utpal Bora, officer-in-charge of Karimganj Sadar Police Station, said that three persons have been arrested so far in connection with the incident. A search is on to nab the other assailants, he said. The arrested persons are Kajal Sarkar, Swapan Chanda and Akaddus Ali. He said Abdul was beaten up by the people out of anger. Sources in police said security had been stepped up in the area (where the assault took place) following the incident. Security officials have been deployed to prevent any backlash.