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The Rumour That Killed: Incidences of Mob Violence over Child-lifting Hoax on Rise in Uttar Pradesh

By: Qazi Faraz Ahmad


Last Updated: August 28, 2019, 12:26 IST

Representative image.

Representative image.

A rough estimate suggests that more than 100 incidences of attacks by mobs that mistook people for child-lifters have been reported across Uttar Pradesh in the month of August alone.

Lucknow: Raju and Ramavtar from Jarai area of Chandausi in Sambhal district were on their way to get medicine for their nephew who was accompanying them when they were attacked by an unruly mob that suspected them to be child-lifters. The duo was grievously beaten up with one of them succumbing to his injuries, while others being treated at a critical care unit.

A rough estimate suggests that more than 100 such incidents have been reported from across the state in the month of August alone. The alarming level at which the rumours of ‘Bachcha Chor’ have been spreading has forced the police and authorities to be on their toes.

Incidences of mob violence in Uttar Pradesh was reported from Jhansi, Meerut, Bareilly, Sambhal, Jaunpur, Unnao and Raebareli and other areas. Till now the police have taken action against 35 people for spreading rumours and have promised strict action against perpetrators.

“The rumours of child kidnappers that are being spread across the state through various social media platforms are wrong and unacceptable. 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 ensured against those who are found spreading rumours,” IG Law and Order Praveen Kumar said.

Such incidences have also occurred across several other states including Gujarat. In Haryana's Meerut as well, a youth was caught and roughed up by locals after they mistook him for being a child lifter. According to reports, the mob ripped up his clothes and brutally beat him for hours.

In Assam, two youths were lynched by a mob that mistook them for child-lifters. Messages “warning” people of child-lifters (who are at times falsely labelled as Rohingyas) were widely shared on messaging apps.

The number of incidence in Uttar Pradesh, however, has been on the rise. In Sambhal district, for instance, a disabled woman was beaten up on Tuesday on the suspicion that she was a child lifter. She was, however, rescued by a local doctor who in turn had to face the fury of the mob that vandalised his clinic.

A second incident took place in the Hapur Dehat area where another disabled woman was beaten up by mob, the video of which has gone viral on social media. The Kanpur Dehat police in response took out awareness campaigns to warn people against such rumours. They also affirmed that strict action will be taken against those who indulged in rumour-mongering.
In Raebareli two youths travelling in their car were brutally beaten by a mob and their car vandalised. They were eventually rescued by the police. In another incident reported from Kopa village in Shahganj in Jaunpur, three people were arrested for beating and stripping a woman and then parading her around the village on the suspicion she was a child kidnapper.

A few days ago another disabled woman was roughed up by a mob in Dimrauni village in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district. The video of the women being held captive by the mob went viral on social media.

In the second incident in Jhansi, a disabled man from Mauranipur was beaten up after he was mistaken for a child lifter. The man was beaten mercilessly following which a video of the incident went viral on social media.

Another similar incident was reported on Sunday in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh where one youth was caught on the suspicion of being a child lifter and was brutally thrashed by an angry mob. The youth was tied to a pole and beaten for hours before the police arrived and took him away. Following the incident, SSP Shailesh Kumar Pandey issued an appeal to the residents of Bareilly not to get involved in any kind of mob violence. “The recent incident of violence in the name of child-lifters has caused fear among the people. Such false news is being shared over social media in order to instil fear in people. We appeal media to help us in identifying the culprits, strict action will be taken against such people who will be found guilty,” he said.

Similarly, in Shahabad district, a man was held hostage by locals and brutally thrashed. The police had to eventually come to rescue the man but found it difficult to convince the locals who then staged a jam. The police had to use force to take custody of the man from the locals. The locals alleged that the man had been carrying a knife and a packet of biscuit as he was a child kidnapper.

Earlier on August 11, three women were beaten on the suspicion that they were child-lifters in Krishna Nagar in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district. The three women were seen roaming in the area when they were intercepted and questioned by the locals. Following this, the mob started beating them up. The women were rescued by the police later on. In a second incident in the district, a beggar was assaulted by locals in Tontigaon area on suspicion of being a child kidnapper. The beggar was wearing black clothes which is said to have triggered suspicion among the locals.

Recently four youths in the attire of Sadhus were manhandled by locals in Unnao after they suspected them of being child-lifters. The youths were finally handed over to the police and revealed that they are residents of Meerut and were coming from Ayodhya after performing a ceremony.

An elderly woman from Himachal Pradesh was beaten up in Etah district’s Sringar area. Shockingly, the incidence took place in the presence of police personnel who didn’t attempt to rescue the woman.
first published:August 28, 2019, 09:44 IST
last updated:August 28, 2019, 12:26 IST