A mob in Manipur’s Imphal West district lynched a man to death suspecting him of vehicle theft. The man, identified as Farooq, hailed from Lilong in Thoubal district of the state.

According to reports, Farooq, aged 26, was attacked by a mob in Tharoijam, around 18.5 kilometres south of Imphal on Thursday.

The mob accused Farooq and two of his friends, who were travelling in a car, of trying to steal a two-wheeler from the village.

According to The Times of India, the trio tried to flee as dog barks alerted the villagers but their car met with an accident. The mob then rounded up the group and lynched Farooq as the other two managed to escape.

Videos and pictures circulating on social media show a mob beating a man with sticks while his almost immobile body lies on the ground. They also show at least one person dressed in a police uniform looking on helplessly. The authenticity of the pictures and videos has not been established.

According to The Indian Express, police have arrested five people including a jawan from India Reserve Battalion (IRB) for allegedly lynching Farooq.

The police said that all 13 people involved in the killing of the youth have been identified. All accused have been booked under IPC sections 302 (murder), 117 (abetting commission of offence by public or by more than 10 people) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Protests were held in some parts of the district against the lynching. Residents of Lilong said that Farooq was an MBA student. According to Indian Express, the residents said that Farooq had left home to meet a friend.

But residents of Tharoijam held counter-protests defending those arrested for lynching the youth. The protests reportedly became violent and police had to use force.

Meanwhile, the accused have been remanded in police custody for four days.