WhatsApp Messages and the Mad Mob Lynching: A Timeline
Representative Image/ Creative by Mir Suhail.
At least 31 people were murdered across more than 10 states after rumours of child-lifting spread on WhatsApp, driving people into a mad mob lynching spree.
July 1, 2018 – Maharashtra
Five men were lynched by a mob in Maharashtra's Dhule district over suspicion of child trafficking. The victims had come to the village for begging and shelter but fell prey to the WhatsApp rumour that child traffickers had come to the area.
June 28, 2018 – Tripura
Three people were lynched while two others were critically injured in separate incidents in Tripura. This happened a couple days after an 11-year-old boy was found murdered with locals claiming that his kidneys were missing. Police, however, said that the postmortem report established all his organs were intact.
June 27, 2018 – Gujarat
A 45-year-old woman beggar was lynched and three others seriously injured when a group of nearly 30 people allegedly thrashed them on suspicion of being child lifters.
June 13, 2018 – West Bengal
An unidentified man suspected of being a child-lifter was allegedly tied to an electricity post and beaten to death by a mob in Bengal’s Malda district. A homeless man in his thirties was asked why had he come to Bulbulchandi-Dubapara village in Habibpur; dissatisfied by his answer, the mob beat him to death.
June 8, 2018 – Assam
Two youths from Guwahati were battered to death in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on suspicion of being child lifters. The victims – Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das – both in their thirties, had gone for a short vacation from Guwahati to the picnic spot Kangthilangso in Karbi Anglong. Eyewitnesses said the two boys were brutally hit by bamboo poles and wood, and were tortured to death by a mob of ‘inebriated’ villagers.
June 8, 2018 – Maharashtra
Two men were allegedly beaten to death and seven others were injured, one of them critically, after a 1500-strong mob of villagers attacked them with wooden sticks on suspicion of being robbers in Chandgaon village in Vaijapur taluka
May 28, 2018 – Andhra Pradesh
A 500-strong mob beat a 52-year-old transgender to death and severely injured three others over suspicions of them being child lifters. Stones were pelted at the transgenders, who had travelled from Mahbubnagar district during Ramazan to make some money after they failed to give any convincing answers.
May 25, 2018 – Karnataka
A 26-year-old youth was beaten to death by a group of enraged men who mistook him for a child-lifter. They beat Kaluram, a paan-seller from Rajasthan, with wooden logs near Ranganatha talkies in Pension Mohalla under the jurisdiction of Chamarajpet police.
May 24, 2018 – Telangana
At least four people were lynched and several others beat up in different districts in two Telugu states — Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — following fake messages on social media. In one incident, a man who had gone to Nizamabad district in Telangana to meet a relative was beaten to death after he failed to convince the mob.
May 10, 2018 – Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu ran into paranoia over unfounded WhatsApp messages asking people not to trust immigrants as they are part of child trafficking group, which claimed the lives of two innocent people in less than 24 hours.
May 18, 2017 – Jharkhand
Eight people were lynched in Jharkhand in the last nine days on suspicion that they were part of the child-stealing gangs. While as many as 18 people were arrested in the case, the police officers in charge of police stations in Bagbera and Rajnagar were suspended by the state government.