The parents of Nilotpal Das, a sound-engineer and musician who was lynched along with one his friends Abhijit Nath in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, has appealed for calm amid a surcharged atmosphere in the state that has seen widesperead protests and calls for “revenge” by a section of the people.
Two of Assam’s most prominent singers Zubeen Garg and Rahul Rajkhowa, also posted separate messages on social media, saying that an entire community must not be held guilty for a crime committed by a few.
Das, 29 and Nath, 30, were killed by a mob in Karbi Anglong on Friday when they had gone on a road trip to a waterfall in an interior village. The mob, comprising Karbi and Bodo people, allegedly mistook the two visitors for child lifters following messages of miscreants roaming in the area went viral on social media and messaging apps.
“The crime was committed by group of miscreants. We hope they get exemplary punishment,. At the same time, we that no innocent is harrased,” Nilotpul’s parents Gopal Chandra Das and Radhika Das said in a statement issued on Monday.
Exhorting people to remain calm and ignore rumours over the incident, the Das’ also asked the government to initiate steps to educate the people about fake news and superstitions. Their statement was issued in Assamese.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Zubeen Garg – one of Assam’s most popular singer with a huge fan following – also spoke about the need to educate the people about rumours and superstition.
Pointing out that a section of people from the Brahmaputra Valley were attacking a “certain community” over the incident, Garg said it was uncalled for to link a community over an incident.
He said Assam and the Assamese needed a “new road” at this juncture to move ahead against fake news, superstition, divisive politics and illiteracy.
Rahul Rajkhowa, a student of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University who is known for his powerful songs against the establishment, described the viral social media posts calling for boycotting Karbi Anglong as “obnoxious”.
“What happened with Nilotpal Da and Abhijeet was wrong…The culprits must be severely punished without a doubt. However these obnoxious posts about #BoycottKarbiAnglong #AvoidKarbianglong and then Assamese boys attacking the Karbi community both online and physically needs to stop. You can't shame an entire community of people for a handful of horrible people,” he wrote on Facebook.
“For now we need to pray for the lost souls and the law should ensure that the most severe punishment is given to the culprits. Please stop spreading communal hate online you are only worsening the situation (sic),” he added.