Dimapur: As Nagaland capital struggled to return to normalcy following the lynching of an alleged rapist, Chief Minister TR Zeliang said he felt that social media users played a role in the flare-up and warned people against spreading rumours.
Zeliang blamed some groups and individuals for using social networking sites to spread false rumours and libellous comments in an attempt to stir up communal feelings and public unrest.
Urging social media users to be more responsible and act as a medium for spreading the truth and good news, he said his government respects freedom of speech of its citizens, but will not remain a mere spectator to any social networking site and its users acting as channels to create communal unrest.
"There are certain elements who are trying to politicise the whole incident in order to gain undue political mileage and I appeal to the people not to be misled by the false propaganda of such unscrupulous elements," he said.
In a separate statement, Nagaland Home Minister Y Patton said social media users in Nagaland have brought utter dishonour to the people of the state by uploading the incident in various social media sites, sensationalising the matter further.
"While appreciating the anger of the people towards such heinous crimes such as rape through their various forms of protests and agitations, it is highly condemnable when they start resorting to take the laws into their hands," Patton said.
Patton appealed to the people to demonstrate maturity as a civilised society and not to communalise the incident.
On the other hand, Jamaluddin Khan, brother of the alleged rapist - Syed Farid Khan,said that the killing was "politically motivated" as he accused police of "falsely implicating his brother on behest of Naga groups, who want to root out non-tribals from the state."
Jamaluddin, an Indian army sergeant, accused Nagaland`s government of "deliberately dubbing him as a Bangladeshi... to justify the killing".
"The girl`s medical report didn`t confirm rape but still my brother was jailed and then handed over to the mob who lynched him just because he was a Bengali-speaking person," he said.
He said his brother had been living in Dimapur for 10 years, where he married a local girl and had a daughter.
Nagaland`s indigenous tribal groups, especially the largest Naga tribe, have for years accused the growing population of Bengali-speaking Muslims from nearby Assam state and Bangladesh of illegally settling on their land and usurping resources.
Nagas have previously campaigned to evict Bengali-speaking immigrants from their territory, who they claim entice local girls into marriage for getting tribal status.
Khan had been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in Dimapur on February 24 and remanded to judicial custody in Dimapur Central Jail the following day.
On March 5, a mob broke into the jail, dragged him out, stripped him naked, beat him up, pelted him with stones and dragged him towards the centre of Dimapur town, seven kilometres away.
On the way he succumbed to his injuries after which the mob strung the body to a clock tower.
(With Agency Inputs)