By Nilotpal Bhattacharjee
Vairengte, Jun 22 : Hundreds of protesters from Thingdawl and its neighbouring villages in Kolasib district of Mizoram tried to drag out a man accused of attempted rape from Saipum Mizo India Reserve Battalion camp last night, forcing the police to resort to blank firing to disperse the mob.
The incident was reminiscent of the one at Dimapur in Nagaland when an angry mob dragged a rape accused out of jail and lynched him.
Sources said the mob left the camp around 1 this morning, following a meeting with the police officers who assured them of justice.
A tense atmosphere prevailed today at Saipum after the incident. Security personnel from Kolasib and Mualvum were sent to Saipum to prevent any kind of untoward incident.
Police officials today told The Telegraph that Lalhimpuia, 42, had allegedly attempted to rape a girl at Thingdawl on June 18. He managed to escape after the girl's family members arrived on hearing her screams. He left the area and took shelter at Thintel village, from where he was arrested by Kolasib police last afternoon, the police said.
Lalhimpuia is the son of R. Lalremsiama, a resident of Thingdawl.
Kolasib superintendent of police C. Lalzahngoa told this correspondent that when people from Thingdawl and neighbouring villages came to know about Lalhimpuia's arrest from Thintel, they started chasing the police.
"Sensing trouble, the police took the accused to Saipum Mizo IRB camp instead of Kolasib police station. It is difficult to determine the total number of people gathered in front of the camp, but they were many," Lalzahngoa said.
The mob gheraoed the camp, demanding that the accused should be handed over to them. When they tried to enter the camp to drag out the accused, the policemen deployed at the site sounded a warning and then resorted to blank firing to disperse the mob.
Kolasib town, the headquarters of Kolasib district, is around 35km from Vairengte town and 83km from Aizawl.
Vairengte, bordering Lailapur in Cachar district, is a town under Kolasib district.
A meeting was later held near the battalion camp last night.
The protesters agreed to leave the area after the police assured them that a probe would be conducted and stern action would be taken against the guilty.
Vanlalruata, the general secretary of the Young Mizo Association, the largest NGO of the Mizo people, told The Telegraph this evening from Aizawl that such incidents should be condemned.
"Women should be respected. Any kind of violence against women is not acceptable in any civil society. The judicial system must take up such cases very seriously and justice should be delivered as early as possible," he said.
Vanlalruata, who came to know about the incident through media reports, demanded stern action against the guilty.
On March 5, a rape accused, who was from Bosla village in Karimganj district, was dragged out of prison in Dimapur by a mob, taken to the clock tower, 7km away, and lynched.