Three people have been lynched in separate incidents in Tripura this week on suspicions of being child kidnappers including one person who was hired to spread awareness about rumour mongering.
Sukanta Chakrabarty, who was recruited by Tripura’s Information and Culture department to dispel rumours, ended up being lynched late on June 28 at Kalachhara in South Tripura district, according to news reports.
News reports state that Chakrabarty, who was travelling from village to village with a loudspeaker asking people not to believe rumours, was caught and beaten to death. Two other men accompanying him were also assaulted. The vehicle they were travelling in was also damaged.
Speaking to BOOM, South Tripura SP Jalsingh Meena confirmed the circumstances in which Chakrabarty is said to have been lynched by a group of people .
“Chakrabarty was authorised by the state government’s information and culture department to travel from one village to another. He was making one such announcement at a village urging his listeners not to heed to rumours about child kidnapping when some of them got furious and attacked the team. We have arrested 4 persons and have identified more persons involved in the attack and investigations are going on. Two of those who arrested are local street rowdies,” said Meena to BOOM.
On being asked if the assailants were known to the victim and any prior enmity, Meena said that no such angle has been found in their investigations so far. The SP also denied any cases of child kidnapping causing panic among residents. The officer also said that investigations are still going on to find out if any messages on social media platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook played any role in the attack on the government team.
Chakrabarty’s lynching came hours after another lynching of Uttar Pradesh resident Zahir Khan who was beaten to death by a mob at Murabari in West Tripura district, about 30 km from Agartala. Khan, who had been selling crockery and garments in the state for two decades, along with two other hawkers hired a vehicle from Bitterban, an urban slum but when they reached Murabari, people suspected them of being child abductors.
The three along with their driver tried to flee the mob and sought refuge at a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) camp in the area. However, a large mob stormed the camp. (source) According to Firstpost, TSR jawans fired two rounds in the air and four tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
In a separate incident, an unidentified mentally ill woman, suspected to be a child-kidnapper, was also lynched by a mob at Bishalgarh in Sepahijhala district.
The mass hysteria and lynchings prompted Tripura Director General of Police AK Shukla on Thursday to direct mobile service providers to suspend SMS and internet data services across the state till 2 pm on Saturday.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb urged people to maintain peace and said there was no child abductors in the state. Deb alleged that it was a conspiracy of the CPI(M) to tarnish the image of his government.
The lynchings in Tripura come on the back of a murder of 11-year-old boy at Bhumiheen Colony of Mohanpur sub-division in West Tripura district on Wednesday. The boy’s body was found with deep wounds on the neck and back leading many to speculate that his kidneys were harvested. However, this was promptly denied by Tripura police on social media.
— Tripura Police (@Tripura_Police) June 27, 2018