ITANAGAR: Anger over the rape and mutilation of a minor girl in a remote corner of Arunachal Pradesh spilled over to the streets as hordes of people dragged and beat to death the two men accused of the crime, delivering their own brand of justice.

On the morning of February 12, a five-year-old girl went missing from Namgo Mismi villa administrative circle in Lohit district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Her parents filed an FIR at the Wakro police outpost that very day, who then led search operations in the area. Five days later on February 17, her body was found inside a tea estate; stripped naked and her head severed from her body.

Police were quick to make arrests, taking into custody two tea garden workers from Assam- main accused of rape Sanjay Sobor and Jagdish Lohar who reportedly abetted in the crimes. The two were arrested and were in police custody at the district headquarter of Tezu.

As details of the gruesome murder began spreading, residents from neighbouring areas began speaking in solidarity with the victim and her family. A section of youths from Roing in neighbouring Lower Dibang Valley had even planned to organise a candlelight march in remembrance of the victim. But, before that could be held, events took a different turn this afternoon.

At around 11 to 11.30 AM on Monday, a ‘large group’ of people stormed into the Tezu police station where Sobor and Lohar were being held. Various sources said that the two were dragged out of their cells and assaulted by the mob.

The two rape accused were stripped, dragged to the streets and pelted with sticks and stones by the crowd in the main town square near the police station.

Different sources gave differing numbers about the size of the mob ranging from around 400 to close to 1,200. Sources also said that police and some district administration officials were also assaulted by the crowd.

Arunachal Pradesh eastern range Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP), Apur Bitin, said that the crowd consisted of over 1,000 people.

Bitin informed that the police have filed a case against the mob under different sections of the Indian Penal Code including rioting and murder. No arrests have been made so far.

The DIGP also said that the situation in Tezu is “under control” and that additional security forces have been sought. He also said that telecom operators have not been told to restrict call and data services yet.

Monday’s incident was almost a repeat of 5 March 2015 when a crowd of people broke into the prison in Dimapur, Nagaland and dragged a man accused of rape, lynched him, stripped him and hung at a busy city junction where he eventually died.

(Cover photograph caption : bodies of the two rape accused killed by mob)