One Killed in UP's Sambhal Dist in Mob Violence over Child-Lifting Rumours, Cops Initiate Action
Incidents of mob violence overs rumours of child lifters that are spread mainly through social media and text messages have been reported from Jhansi, Meerut, Bareilly, Sambhal, Jaunpur, Unnao and Raebareilly.
Lucknow: Raju and Ramavtar from Jarai area of Chandausi in Sambhal district were on their way on Tuesday to get medicines for their nephew who was accompanying them when they were attacked by a mob that suspected them to be child lifters. The duo was grievously beaten up with one of them succumbing to his injuries, while other being treated at a critical care unit.
Thanks to rumours of ‘bachcha chor’ (child kidnappers) that have been spreading like wildfire in the state of late, about 100 such incidents were reported in August alone. Incidents of mob violence overs rumours of child lifters that are spread mainly through social media and text messages have been reported from Jhansi, Meerut, Bareilly, Sambhal, Jaunpur, Unnao and Raebareilly. Till now, action has been taken against 35 people for spreading rumours and the administration is adopting other measures to combat the menace.
The Additional Director General of Police (ADG), Law and Order, Praveen Kumar, said, “False rumours of child kidnappers are being spread across the state through various social media platforms. We have received several complaints in this regard and so far, action has been taken against 35 people. People are being made aware about such rumours and strict action will be initiated against those who are found spreading such false news.”
A specially abled woman was also beaten up on Tuesday on suspicions of being a child lifter in the Kasba area under Gunnaur police station of Sambhal district. When a doctor came to her rescue, his clinic was vandalised.
Another woman with similar mental conditions was beaten up in the day over similar suspicions in the Hapur Dehat area, a video of which has gone viral on social media. Soon after, the Kanpur police started making announcements to create awareness and urged people to stay alert. It said strict action would be initiated against rumour mongers.
In Raebarelly, two youths travelling in their car were attacked by a mob on suspicion of being child kidnappers before being rescued by police. Their car was also vandalised. In another incident reported from Kopa village in Shahganj in Jaunpur, three persons were arrested for allegedly stripping off a woman and parading her half-naked in the village after beating her up on suspicion of being a kidnapper.
On Sunday, two youths were beaten up in a village in Raebareli after locals thought they were trying to kidnap children. The youths were later rescued by the local police and sent to the government hospital in Dalmau for treatment.
Few days ago, a specially abled man and woman were attacked in separate places over similar suspicions in Jhansi district. Videos of them being held captive were circulated on social media.
Recently, a youth from Haryana who used to sell herbal medicines was thrashed by locals in Meerut as they mistook him for being a child lifter. His clothes were torn and he was mercilessly beaten up for hours. The incident was reported from Kithore area in Meerut.
Another similar incident was reported on Sunday from Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh where a youth was caught on the suspicion of being a child lifter and was thrashed by a mob after tying him to a pole. He was later rescued by police.
Bareilly SSP Shailesh Kumar Pandey has issued an appeal to locals to not get involved in any such acts and asked them to inform police in case they spot movement of any suspicious person in their area. “The recent incident of violence in the name of child lifters has caused fear among people. Such news is spread through social media to instil fear. We appeal to media to help us identify the culprits, strict action will be taken against such people who will be found guilty,” he said.
In Shahabad district, a man was held hostage by locals on the suspicion of being a child lifter. The man was tied up and beaten up by locals. When police tried to take him away, villagers staged an agitation. Police had to use force to take the man’s custody from the locals who alleged that the man was carrying a knife along with a packet of biscuit.
On August 11, three women were attacked on the suspicion of being child lifters in the Krishna Nagar area of Mathura district. The women were whiling away in the area when locals started questioning them and beating them up. Later, they were rescued by police. A beggar too was assaulted by locals in Tontigaon area of Mathura on suspicion of being a kidnapper. Locals said his black-coloured clothes caused the suspicion.
Recently, four youths in the attire of sadhus were also abused by Unnao locals before being handed over to police. After questioning, police came to know they were residents of Meerut and were coming from Ayohdya after ‘darshan’.
An elderly woman from Himachal Pradesh was attacked in the Sringar Nagar area under Kotwali police station of Etah. However, the incident reportedly happened in the presence of police personnel.
With the advent of social media, several such incidents have been reported from different parts f the country. Last year, two youths lost their lives in Assam’s Karbi Anglong were killed when people mistook them for child lifters.
A message warning readers about probable kidnappers (Rohingyas in some cases) in the area is forwarded on mobile phones and other social media platforms and to add authenticity, name of the local police station is also mentioned at the end of the forwarded message. The pattern has been similar in all the states. The only thing that changes at the end is the name of the police station, forcing many people to believe in the authenticity of the message.
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