GUWAHATI: A lower court in Assam on Friday sentenced 12 people to life imprisonment in a case of mob lynching that took place in 2013.
The District and Sessions Court, Diphu, in Karbi Anglong district prosecuted the convicts under Sections 147, 341, 323, 302 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code.
On February 24, the court had convicted the 12 people and acquitted four others, including two police personnel. Two others have been absconding ever since the incident while another was tried by a court for juveniles. The trial had begun in 2018.
The families of the convicts and a local organisation, called Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State, said they would challenge the verdict in the Gauhati High Court.
On June 25, 2013, 16-year-old college student Jhankar Saikia and his lawyer-father Haren Saikia were brutally beaten up by a group of auto-rickshaw drivers during an argument over fare. They had refused to pay Rs.30 instead of the regular fare of Rs.20. Jhankar had succumbed to his injuries on July 1.
Initially, the mob had attacked Jhankar. The father faced the mob’s wrath when he tried to rescue his son. The attack was perpetrated in full view of some policemen but they allegedly remained mute spectators.
The father on Friday said, “I am happy. I had complete faith in the judiciary and the police”.
Trial in another mob lynching case in the district is on. In that incident, two youth from affluent families from Guwahati were lynched by a mob that suspected the duo of being child-lifters. Over 40 people, arrested by the police, are facing the charge of murder.
Meanwhile, in a similar case in Mizoram’s Mamit district three days ago, three traders, including two from Uttar Pradesh, were assaulted by some locals on the suspicion that they were child-lifters.
The state’s Home Minister Lalchamliana condemned the incident. He said rumours spread through social media about strangers attempting to kidnap a 13-year-old boy in the area had led to the incident.