21 June, 2021

Assam Lynching: Digital Bombs of Mob Violence

Social media rumours fan a medieval barbarity within us. This time it’s Assam.

Shock Wave
In Guwahati, people ­protesting against the Karbi Anglong lynching
Photograph by PTI
Assam Lynching: Digital Bombs of Mob Violence

People in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district—like in most parts of the state—have grown up hearing stories about the ‘xopadhora’, the Assamese word to describe a child-lifter. ‘Xopa’ means both a gag and to gag someone and ‘dhora’ is to catch. In remote Assam, where superstition has a firm grip on the populace, the telling and re-telling of xopadhora horror tales has given birth to a ghas­tly creature in imagination—described variously as having long, braided hair and flashing eyes which hypnotise little children before he catches hold of them and devours them.

READ ALSO: Karbi Anglong Lynching: 'This Is Not The Assam I Know'

On June 8, when Nilotpal Das, a 29-year-old sound engineer, and his friend Abhijeet Nath, 30, a businessman, set out to visit a popular tourist spot in Karbi Anglong’s Dokmoka—about 180 km from state capital...

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