Assam police patrol
Indian security personnel at a street in Assam. [Representational Image]Reuters

The horrific incident of two youth beaten to death for being mistakenly identified as child abductors sent shockwaves across the nation. The Assam police have now arrested 16 people in connection to the mob lynching that occurred in Karbi Anglong district, according to IANS.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwala said that cops are on the lookout for more people involved in the Friday evening incident.

Agarwala said that the situation in Dokmoka, where the killings took place, was under control, "There was tension in the area following the incident but it is under control now."

The villagers were allegedly on the lookout for miscreants after viral social media posts stated that child abductors were on the prowl in Nagaland's Dimapur region. Kabri Anglong in Assam is bordered by Nagaland on the east.

Urging the public to not believe rumours circulating on social media, Agarwala said:

In four to five villages around Dokmoka, fake posts went viral on social media about 'xopadhara' or child abductors in the area. Preliminary investigation says that the people in the area suspected the two youths as child lifters and attacked them.

We appeal to people not to believe rumours and social media posts. We also appeal to the people to inform the police immediately if they find anyone spreading rumours and hate messages.

The deceased, Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath, were on their way back from Kathilangso waterfall, when they were ambushed in Dokmoka. The two were thrashed by an angry mob of villagers despite repeatedly pleading with them, saying they were from Assam.

According to Indian Express, Abhijeet Nath was a businessman from Guwahati while Niloptal Das was a musician based in Goa. The death of the youth in the name of child abduction at the hands of an angry mob taking law into their own hands has raised serious concerns over the law and order situation in the region.

Assam Cheif Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on June 9, ordered a high-level probe in the brutal killings, condemning the violence that was propagated by a misguided social media post.

Mob violence is not new to the region. Over a week ago, a 20-year-old man in the neighbouring state of Nagaland was stripped naked and paraded by a mob for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl.