A shocking number of mob lynching cases were reported from different states across the country in recent weeks after fake news pertaining to child kidnappers started to circulate on WhatsApp groups.
KARNATAKA: In continuation to the spree of lynching incidents based on rumours spread on WhatsApp, a man from the city was lynched to death and his three friends sustained critical injuries after a mob of at least 2500 men attacked them at Murki village in Bidar, Karnataka.
MANIPUR: Two unidentified men were brutally beaten up by the locals on the suspicion that they were child-lifters. What strengthened the locals’ suspicion about the victims was their inability to communicate in any language, be it Manipuri, Hindi or English. In both incidents, the victims were found to be loitering around aimlessly and in a suspicious manner in the evening.
WEST BENGAL: A middle-aged man was severely beaten up by villagers in Bolpur town today on suspicion of his being a child-lifter. The villagers alleged the man, who was driving a taxi, tried to force an 11-year-old girl into his vehicle when she was playing in a field at Rajatpur, in the outskirts of Bolpur town.
MAHARASHTRA: Five people were lynched to death by villagers of Rainpada, 25 km from Pimpalner, in Dhulia district of North Maharashtra on July 1, on suspicion of being child-lifters.The five persons were beaten to death after videos of child-lifters were actively circulated on a WhatsApp group. The five people had come to the tribal hamlet in a state transport bus. When one of them tried to speak to a girl child, villagers, who had gathered for the weekly Sunday bazaar, suddenly attacked them.
In another incident in Maharashtra, a family of five were attacked by a mob at Malegaon in Nashik District. Police managed to rescue all five members of the family. However, the mob managed to vandalise a police vehicle.
TRIPURA: On June 28, 33-year-old Sukanta Chakrabarty was lynched at Kalachhara in South Tripura district. He was a member of a team set up by the state government to campaign against rumor-mongering.
In another incident in Tripura, a hawker from Uttar Pradesh was lynched and two others injured on June 28 at Murabari in West Tripura district after a mob attacked them on suspicion of being child-lifters.
The three hawkers, all from outside the state, had come to Murabari for trade purposes.
ASSAM: Two friends Nilotpal Das (29), a sound engineer, and Abhijit Nath (30), an engineering dropout, were bludgeoned to death on June 8 by a mob at Panjuri Kacharigaon under Dokmoka police station, around 200 km east of Guwahati.
The mob pulled them out of their vehicle at Panjuri in Karbi Anglong district and beat them to death. Two of them were suspected to be child-lifters, following dissemination of fake news on social media.
BENGALURU: An angry mob chased and lynched a 26-year-old job-searching man from Rajasthan to death on May 23 suspecting him to be child lifter based on fake news. The gruesome incident took place at Pension Mohalla in Chamarajpet police limits.
Tamil Nadu has been gripped by panic after unfounded messages, which started circulating on WhatsApp, got viral. The message was asking people to not trust immigrants as they were part of 'child trafficking groups'. Two innocent people have reportedly lost their lives in less than 24 hours as people suspected them to be child traffickers.
TAMIL NADU: A Hindi-speaking man was clubbed to death in Vellore district on April 28 due to a fake WhatsApp message. The people who lynched him suspected that he was a child trafficker.
In another case, a 65-year-old tourist Rukmini was lynched on May 8 by a 200 member-strong mob in Athimoor village in Polur, 25 kilometers from Tiruvannamalai district, after she was found distributing chocolates to children in the area. Men from Athimoor and surrounding villages suspected her to be a child trafficker.
ANDHRA PRADESH: Two persons were beaten to death in Vizag in May this year.
TELANGANA: Two persons, including a tribal youngster, were lynched in May. In another incident, nine laborers were beaten up by locals in the last week of May.
CHHATTISGARH: A Bangalore-based scholar Ramnath Bhatt pursuing his research from London was chased by enraged villagers who suspecting him as a child-lifter at Saskalo village in Sarguja district, north Chhattisgarh, about 300 km from Raipur.