Assam: Vegetable Vendor Lynched by Five Men in Kamrup District

Sanatan Deka was reportedly attacked after his bicycle was in a collision with a car two of the accused were in.

New Delhi: A vegetable vendor in Assam’s Kamrup district was beaten to death by a group of five men on Sunday (May 24), and has triggered widespread condemnation across the state.

The Assam Police, later in the evening, arrested two of the prime accused while the others are reportedly being traced.

According to local news reports, the vegetable vendor, Sanatan Deka, was returning from the market on a bicycle when he was in a collision with a car in Monahkuchi village near the district’s Hajo town. The occupants of the car – Jalil Ali and Sabir Ali – thereafter got into a heated argument with Deka. The duo was joined by three others and thereafter, all five men began beating Deka.

When members of the local public reached the scene, the five men fled. Though some people assembled at the spot managed to take Deka to a local hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. According to media reports quoting villagers, Deka was a resident of Tetelia village. He worked at a factory but had lost his job during the national lockdown and had begun selling vegetables in the nearby market to make a living.

Following the incident, the Kamrup Police registered a case while the Hajo police station began a manhunt, leading to the arrest of two persons by Sunday night. The other three are reportedly absconding.

Jarir Ali is said to have been behind the wheel.

In 2018, two young men were lynched by a mob in the state’s Karbi Anglong district. In February 2020, the Gauhati high court convicted 12 persons involved in the brutal attack that had sent shock waves across the state.

In the May 24 incident, since the men who attacked Deka were Muslim, the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, has termed the group of five men an “Islamist mob” lynching “Assamese” vendor in a report on its website.

Though local news reports have not mentioned this, the Organiser claimed that Deka, a Hindu, was attacked for selling vegetables in a Muslim locality during Ramzan. The police too have not yet been quoted as saying anything of this sort.