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Tripura 'Cattle Theft' Lynching: High Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail to Accused

As per the statements of some of the witnesses, the bail applicant was found to be a part of the mob that allegedly murdered Saiful Islam on June 20. On that day, two other men were also killed.

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New Delhi: The Tripura high court last week denied pre-arrest bail to a man who was allegedly a part of a mob that lynched an 18-year-old boy, Saiful Islam, on the suspicion that he had stolen cattle, LiveLaw reported.

A bench of Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay denied pre-arrest bail to one Gagan Debbarma, saying that the boy was lynched by the mob, accusing him of being a cattle lifter, even though no cattle were found in his possession.

According to the report, the officer in charge of Mungiakami police station, Khowai, on June 20 came to know that the Saiful along with his associates had stolen cattle.

The Wire had reported that along with Saiful, two others — Zayed Hussein (28) and Billal Miah (30) — were also allegedly lynched by the mob, which accused them of cattle smuggling. The villagers of Namanjoypara allegedly saw the trio ‘fleeing’ with the cattle and detained them. They thrashed Zayed and Billal, while Saiful managed to flee.

Saiful was caught at Sovaram Chow Para and was brutally attacked by a mob.

They were taken to the Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital at Agartala, where they were declared brought dead.

The report further said that two separate cases — for cattle smuggling and mob lynching — were filed at Champahower and Kayanpur police stations.

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On July 3, the police arrested one Ripon Debbarma of Uttar Maharanipur under the Teliamura police station in connection with the incident. The police had also refused to give any details on the arrest in the interest of the investigation, a local report said.

The regional Tripura People’s Party had alleged that a fourth man was also attacked and went missing, another The Wire report said.

During the course of the investigation, as per the statements of some of the witnesses, the bail applicant, Debbarma, was found to be a part of the mob that allegedly murdered Saiful. Thus, he was booked for the offence punishable under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 302 r/w section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

As per the LiveLaw report, the counsel of the accused in the bail plea argued that he was not named in the first information report as an accused. He further said that no prima facie case of the charge of murder had been made out against him. Therefore, there was no justifiable reason for his arrest and detention.

On the other hand, the public prosecutor for the state argued that the statements of the eyewitnesses had revealed the name of the “accused petitioner” as one of the members of the mob who were found chasing Saiful and allegedly murdering him.

Therefore, taking into account the gravity of the offence and the aforementioned facts, the court denied the benefit of anticipatory bail to the applicant.