BALLARI, RAICHUR AND KOPPAL: In the last one week, at least 10 people have been beaten up in different parts of North Karnataka alleging that they were child abductors. There is a wild rumour, which came from the borders of Andra Pradesh, in Ballari, Raichur and Koppal that child abductors are on the prowl. A few days ago in Ballari and Koppal, innocents were held, questioned and beaten up.
Now, the same has spread to others parts of North Karnataka. A mentally unsound woman was beaten up in Sia Talab in Raichur city on suspicion of being part of a child abduction gang which has been operating in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. A rumour in this regard spread like wildfire on social media platforms.
The incident of thrashing this woman occurred on the midnight hours of Wednesday, May 16. Locals at Sia Talab when wandering in the vicinity in search of child lifting gang spotted this woman. “A group of men when spotted this woman who was loitering in the midnight raising suspicion, they took her to task and started to question on her identity,” the police said.
However, the locals could not get any answer from the lady as she had no idea where she was from and who she is. They felt that she was trying to hide the identity by not opening her mouth. The people grilled her for sometime, even as hundreds of residents started to gather at the spot.
The locals who ran out of patience started to beat her up. They thrashed her on the forehead, following which she sustained injuries. Some locals sensing danger telephoned Sardar Bazar police and the police arrived to the spot, took her into the custody and dispersed the angry mob.
Superintendent of Police (SP) D Kishore Babu talking to Express said she was mentally unsound and was wandering. The people confusing her for child lifter started attacking her. He further said the news of a gang hunting children for abduction was baseless and there is no such gang in the police radar. The people were agitated after reading viral messages warning them to be wary of such gang in the city.
On the other hand, on May 15 night, locals of LBS Nagar were walking in and around the colony in search of the gang. When the locals spotted a group of people who is in an inebriated condition at LBS Nagar, they felt that this is the same gang and is doing recci in the vicinity. Following this, the locals came out and paraded around the vicinity.
D Kishore Babu said this is a false news and if the department finds anybody further spreading this message, stern action will be initiated.
Police warn rumour mongers in Ballari
Ballari Superintendent of Police Arun Rangarajan has warned people of Ballari against spreading any kind of rumour on child kidnappers from Andhra Pradesh.
He said anybody spreading rumours on kidnappers will be prosecuted. He said people should not share or post such things on the social media.
He reiterated that the kidnap episode is just a rumour and he has personally got it confirmed from the Andhra Pradesh police. Appealing to the people not to take law into their hands, he said the people, who have been handed over to the police, do not have any criminal antecedence.
Mentioning that there are no cases registered pertaining to children being kidnapped, he said the people need not lose their sleep over the matter as the police are keeping a tab over the issue.
In Koppla, police disclaim child abduction in Koppal
Even as people are said to have manhandled a stranger, who was moving around suspiciously in Mangalur village of Yelburga taluk in Koppal district following rumours that a gang of child abductors from Andhra Pradesh is on the prowl, Superintendent of Police Anoop Shetty clarified on Thursday that there were no such instances as far as Koppal distric is concerned.
He also termed social media messages in this regard as baseless and cautioned of exploring action against such as rumour-mongers. Yet, all police stations in the district have been alerted to keep a strict vigil on any suspicious movement of strangers, he said.
Meanwhile, a few rural people in Mangalur village apprehended that a gang (known as Parthi gang) of child abductors could be operating as Koppal district has a considerable number of Telugu speaking people and rumours of child abductors originated from the neighbouring Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the police have intensified combing searches to trace child abductors, if any in the district. The police have also allayed apprehensions of citizens by creating awareness about safeguarding their children, police sources told Express on Thursday.
With inputs from Subhashchandra N S, Shreyas H S and Shreepad Ayachit