Almost 2-Years on, Abhi-Neel Still Await Justice

Monday, 18 January 2021


Almost 2-Years on, Abhi-Neel Still Await Justice

Atiqul Habib | February 29, 2020 12:50 hrs

The brutal mob lynching incident at Karbi Anglong’s Dokmoka, where two youths from Guwahati became victims of fake social media reports on 8th June 2018, still awaits justice.

It is nearing two years now and the mob lynching case of Abhijit Nath (Abhi) and Nilotpal Das (Neel) is yet to see a judgment and justice. There have been several court hearings in connection with the matter; all the accused who were involved in the case were taken into judicial custody but the slow judicial proceedings are making it painful for the victims’ families and loved ones.

In the latest round of hearing at the Nagaon Sessions Court, the court has recorded the hearing on the second juvenile plea of Anan Rongpi and the judgment will be given on March 3, 2020. Most importantly to expedite the main case proceedings the court has given three dates (16th, 21st and 26th of March) in the next month to record the witnesses.

Earlier, the respective fathers of the two slain youths had requested that a competent committee be given charge of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and they said that in the 21st century such barbaric incidents due to superstitions must not be allowed to take place.

Incident Summary

Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das had gone for a short vacation to Karbi Anglong’s Dokmoka. Suspecting them to be child abductors, the locals forming a mob brutally thrashed the two youths who eventually succumbed to their injuries.

People of Dokmoka first spotted “two suspicious” persons in the evening hours on Friday. Suspecting them to be child-abductors, the locals gheraoed their vehicle and when the boys tried to “escape” from the spot, the locals started to physically assault them. 

In a heart-wrenching video of Nilotpal Das which went viral, Nilotpal pleaded with the words, “Don’t kill me, I am an Assamese,” before being lynched by the mob.

In the video, Nilotpal, with his hands folded and face covered with blood, was heard saying, “Don’t kill me…please don’t beat me. I am an Assamese. Believe me, I am speaking the truth. My father’s name is Gopal Chandra Das and mother’s name is Radhika Das…please let me go.”

The mob, which gheraoed Nilotpal, didn’t listen to his repeated pleadings and prayers and continued to thrash him with bamboo sticks.

Fear psychosis gripped different parts of Assam

Many campaigns have been promoted in a bid to educate people from spreading fake news but fear psychosis gripped different parts of Assam following the news of the attack. 

The administration stated that a group of miscreants are trying to “create terror by using the fake child theft theory.” Police also mentioned that these miscreants are using social media to spread fake news via popular social media app “WhatsApp.”

In some parts, locals also stated that they have “spotted or seen” child-abductors with their faces covered with black cloths. Cases of people reeling under child-abduction terror have been reported in various parts of Assam.

Case registered at Dokmoka Police Station

A case was registered at the Dokmoka Police Station. It is to be noted that when the boys asked the local villagers for directions on Kangthilangso, some of the locals got suspicious. Two men reportedly instigated the others about “child abductors” coming in “a black Scorpio vehicle” and asked them to attack the vehicle.

The vehicle was damaged and items in the vehicle were also destroyed along with the mobile phones of the victim.

Social media: Netizens condemned the incident

The death of Abhi and Neel had brought in a pall of gloom across the state. Youths, along with various members and organisations of the society, condemned the mob lynching incident and urged the police to deliver justice on a fast track mode.

“He is an artist and comes from a well-to-do family…why will he abduct children? He is a victim of a mob attack. Even if anyone had any suspicions, they should have informed the police. Nobody has the right to take law in their hands,” a relative of Nilotpal had said while talking to media. The relative had added, “We want the chief minister to order a high-level probe into the incident. We want justice.”

Guwahatians also witnessed massive rallies condemning the attack but in due course of time it’s only the parents of Abhi-Neel who are currently banging from door-to-door in search of justice to the departed souls.

Abhi-Neel's fathers meet CM; culprits to get maximum punishment, assures Sonowal
Following the lynching, the respective fathers of Abhjieet Nath and Nilotpal Das met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at his office at Janata Bhawan and had put forward their suggestions and opinions for delivering maximum punishment to the culprits. 

Abhjieet's father, Ajit Kumar Nath and Nilotpal's father Gopal Chandra Das made a written submission to Sonowal for constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to expeditiously take up the case.

Sonowal assured that all measures have been taken so that culprits receive maximum punishment accorded for the crime and no loopholes would be left in the investigation for the perpetrators to escape as the SIT under a DSP has already been constituted for the case. 

Because of the swift action of Assam Police almost all the accused were nabbed in a short period of time and subsequently, the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court would be requested to put the trial in a fast track court for speedy justice delivery, Sonowal said. 

The chief minister stated that he is personally monitoring the progress of the case as the crime has tarnished the image of the state and he has also directed the police for consulting an expert criminal lawyer while preparing the charge-sheet of the case so that technical loopholes do not remain through which the criminals can escape. 

It is to be mentioned that it is the government's duty is to ensure that justice is not denied and exemplary punishment is meted out to the culprits.

Meanwhile, CM Sonowal said that the state's guest-friendly image has taken a beating in view of the incident and the government is committed to taking all measures to redeem that image. 

Legal and media advisers respectively to the Chief Minister Shantanu Bharali and Hrishikesh Goswami, Chief Secretary TY Das, Principal Secretary of Home LS Changson were also present during the meeting.

Tributes flow in for 'Abhi-Neel' on their death anniversary

The Abhi-Neel Smriti Raksha Samiti had organised a programme at the Silpukhuri Rajahuwa Naamghar on June 8, 2018 and by this year it will be two painful years where justice is still awaited.

This year, the day will begin with the installation of a portrait of Abhi-Neel, which will be followed by a drawing session on the theme, ‘Art against superstition’ by artists from various parts of the state.

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