Just weeks after the gruesome murder of vegetable vendor Sanatan Deka, another Hindu youth was attacked and stabbed to death in Guwahati by a group of Muslims. Rituparna Pegu, a tribal Assamese Hindu, was killed on Friday while out shopping with his wife and 7 month old baby in Guwahati.
According to reports, the scuffle broke out over a seating stool while Rituparna was in ‘Arman Home Furnishing’ owned by Arman Ali, in Noonmati area. Inside the shop, Rituparna got into some argument with employee Hussain Ali over a stool. Hussain Ali flew into a rage and called in his family members as he accosted Pegu. The event was recorded in the CCTV in the shop.
The video footage shows Rituparna being pushed out of the shop and Hussain Ali stabbing him with a knife in the back, on the street. The other accused Dulal Ali, Ibrahim Ali, Manowara Khatun, and Arman Ali were all seen ganging up on the victim. In another video, his wife Lina Pegu is seen helplessly moving around, carrying the infant in her arms as he was taken to hospital in a van.
In a tweet, Guwahati Police has informed, “@GuwahatiPol arrested 5 persons viz. Hussain Ali, Dulal Ali, Ibrahim Ali, Manuwara Khatun & Arman Ali for murder of a 26 yrs old person at Noonmati on 12 Jun 2020. A case vide Noonmati PS C/no. 294/20 u/s 147/148/149/302 IPC registered and investigation is on. @assampolice.”
The murder sparked outrage among locals. Protests were held in Guwahati and one organisation took out a march from Noonmati Police Station to house of the accused. One of the protesters, lamenting the law & order situation remarked that “We roam around on these same streets, we go to the same markets. They will kill us the same way.” Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parisha(ABVP) took out a candle march on 13th June in Guwahati to seek justice for Rituparna.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonwal has ordered the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate the crime. Lina Pegu, distraught over her husband’s brutal murder, demanded a swift trial and exemplary punishment for the accused.
Such lynchings are on the rise in Assam. On 24 May, vegetable vendor Sanatan Deka was lynched by Faizul Haque, Eyusuf Ahmed and others just because his bicycle collided with their car. Later on 29 May, Debashish Gogoi along with his friend Aditya Das were beaten up by tea plantation workers over a minor accident. Debashish was killed in the attack.
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