Indian mob lynches alleged rapist: New facts emerge [Video]

Posted Mar 7, 2015 by JohnThomas Didymus
Footage has emerged showing the moment that a mob broke through the gates of Dimapur Central Jail in the state of Nagaland, northeast India, overpowered security personnel and dragged out of jail a man accused of raping a student at a women's college.
File photo: Activists from the Social Unity Center of India shout slogans during a protest in Kolkat...
File photo: Activists from the Social Unity Center of India shout slogans during a protest in Kolkata on June 7, 2014 against the alleged gang-rape and murder of two girls in Uttar Pradesh
Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP/File
The video shows hundreds of people filming the attack on their cellphones and others smiling gleefully as the victim was being led away after being stripped naked.
According to police, after overpowering jail security, the mob dragged the man, identified as 35-year-old Syed Sharif Khan, a used car parts dealer, about seven kilometers (four miles) to the City Clock Tower where he was lynched to death.
When police officers came to remove the victim's body the mob attacked, pelting officers with stones and injuring several. A 25-year-old man, allegedly part of the mob, was killed when police opened fire.
Another round of violence was unleashed the next day, Friday, when a group of girls in the northern city of Varanasi alleged that they were molested by some men while celebrating a Hindu festival. The complaint reportedly led to a man being beaten to death.
According to Anil Kumar, a local police officer, an "irate crowd assembled following a complaint by some young women to their families that they were molested... by a few men from that area. We are investigating into the mob violence and also ascertaining whether the deceased was one of the alleged molesters. The dead man is in his fifties and was beaten with sticks. So far, three people have been arrested."
Police superintendent Meren Jamir told the Hindustan Times, "The situation is very tense. We are trying our very best to restore order."
Questions are now being raised about the allegation that Khan raped a college girl. He was accused of raping the student twice, first in a "jungle" and later at a hotel.
A police officer told the Indian Express that CCTV footage showed the girl entering and leaving the hotel with the accused, voluntarily. He said, "Why she accompanied the man even after she was allegedly raped in another place is still a mystery. The girl filed a complaint on February 24 alleging she was raped. We arrested the man under Sections 376, 344 and 363 of the IPC, and both were made to take a medical examination."
Hindustan Times reports that the brother of the victim, an army sergeant, alleged that the killing was politically motivated and part of an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the area.
"Khan's brother Jamaluddin said the killing was ‘politically motivated’ and accused police of falsely implicating his brother on behest of Naga groups, who want to root out non-tribals from the state.
Jamaluddin, an Indian army sergeant, accused Nagaland's government of 'deliberately dubbing him as a Bangladeshi immigrant to justify the killing. The girl's medical report didn't confirm rape but still my brother was jailed and then handed over to the mob who lynched him just because he was a Bengali-speaking person.'"
Reports claim that tests found no evidence of violence suggesting rape. There were also reports that the girl had demanded money from the man before she reported to police that she had been raped.
A local reader comments on Hindustan Times:
"The alleged r@pist was in a relationship with the victim. However, medical report suggests the girl was not even r@ped. SP of Dimapur, Nagaland has also confirmed that the girl blackmailed the boy for Rs 2 lakh. He didn't pay and r@pe case was filed. It seems a greater game is in play in Nagaland. A thorough investigation should be done."
Another reader posted this comment to the Indian Express:
"The girl who accused him of rape was his sister-in-law. They lived nearby, and she frequently visited their house. That fateful day of so-called rape she called him to a hotel on her cellphone. Hotel video shows both of them exiting the hotel and the girl does not show any sign of being in agony or difficulty. A medical report says there is no evidence of rape. Victim Mr. S Khan's family says that she demanded Rs. 2 lacs to withdraw the complaint. Welcome to a story of honey trap, blackmail and mob murder. Are we promoting blackmail and vendetta out of strained male female relations?"
Description of the victim of lynch mob action in some local news reports as an "illegal Bangladeshi infiltrator," and several comments posted to local news websites suggest that anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments might have fueled the ugly mob rage.
A reader comments, chillingly, "Very good Nagas. Done a good job, kill all the cockroaches Muslims. They all are terrorists; kill them all."
Another reader hisses viciously, "He is an illegal immigrant himself, son of invader babur. Go back to your Arab nation. Don’t make my land dirty. Well done Nagas!"
Indian Express notes that Nagaland has been gripped in the weeks preceding the gruesome mob action by anti-immigrant agitation.
Further evidence of anti-immigrant sentiments underlying the action comes from an outbreak of arson following the lynching, targeted at the property of Muslim Bangladeshis.
The mob action was reportedly instigated by some members of the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) and allied groups who defied a curfew imposed by police authorities since Wednesday evening to stage a rally on Thursday protesting the alleged rape.
According to the Press Trust of India news agency, "A mass protest rally against the rape was held at Dimapur this morning after which students and angry people forced into the district jail and managed to pull out the accused."
A senior police officer told the Indian Express that hundreds of school girls in school and college uniforms were part of the lynch mob. Dimapur superintendent of police said officers were unable to use force because "hundreds of girls in school and college uniforms were in the front. How could I use maximum force when there were hundreds of girls in school and college uniforms in the front of a massive mob? It was difficult. There would have been several casualties."
Comments by locals in the Indian media openly acknowledge simmering anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments behind the mob action.
A reader comments: "This is not just a case of rapist (allegedly) being lynched. I can smell xenophobia too."
"I have been brought up in the north east and have served in Nagaland. It is my considered opinion that there is a communal angle to it. Such an incident would never have happened had the rapist been a Naga or a tribal. It is no secret that people from the plains or 'mainland India' are treated as 'outsiders' and are routinely persecuted and discriminated against in most parts of the north east."
The Indian Express reports that three senior officials, including the officer in charge of the jail, were suspended pending a judicial inquiry because they failed "to control the situation."