From day 1, the Dimapur incident showed signs of a ‘story behind the story’. The other story has come out. It was apparently a matter of consensual sex, between the lynched ‘rapist’ Syed Arif Khan and the ‘victim’, according the Union home ministry while quoting a Nagaland government report. The report was based on confessions given by Syed to Dimapur police that he had sex twice with the ‘victim’ girl twice and he paid Rs 5,000 for it. Besides, she turns out to be the cousin sister of the wife of Syed. Although Dimapur police distanced itself from the alleged state government report, the reported seizure of footage of the duo in a hotel raises a question mark on the very allegation. Syed’s claim that the girl sought extra money from him which he refused has also been taken into consideration. There are also reports that the girl’s medical report did not support her allegation either. However, police still considered it a rape probe. Is there another story behind the ‘story behind the story’? There may be one or many. Questions over leaders of the mob still remain unanswered. Police say they are all absconding. Can they be from militant groups eyeing benefits from a communal tension? A lot of non-tribal traders and workers have left the state’s commercial hub after the incident. This has been the trend whenever there is communal violence in any of the north-eastern state. This had happened during ULFA heydays in Assam, in Meghalaya and currently happening in Manipur now. Are political groups behind too? Groups against the current state leadership might orchestrate this to show the utter failure of the state machinery. Dragging a UTP out of the jail and lynching him naked on the street is something rarely seen in any part of India. This is not an incident of militants or dacoits attacking the jail to free their own cadres. The incident was tried to be painted as mob justice towards a rapist. There is little doubt that Syed too had his share of blame. He remained an accused even if he had had “paid” sex with the Naga girl, because prostitution is illegal in India. Dimapur, already a den of all kinds of criminals, militant groups and arms smugglers, is also notorious for its “sex tourism”. The historic town, once capital of the Kachari kingdom, also witnessed a major shift in its demographic pattern over the years. The particular incident is just an outburst of the severe imbalance created by all kinds of forces in the once sleepy town.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on March 13, 2015)