A group of men near the spot where Rukmini and her relatives were assaulted near Polur. (EPS)
TIRUVANNAMALAI: In the latest in a series of such incidents, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly beaten to death and four others seriously injured after a mob mistook them for child traffickers at Athimoor village near Polur in Tiruvannamalai district on Wednesday. Four of the victims had reportedly come with their driver, the fifth victim, from Old Pallavaram in Chennai to visit a family temple at Athimoor village.
They were identified as Rukmani, Mohan Kumar S (34) and Chandrasekar (37), both working in Malaysia, Venkatesan K (51), and car driver Gajendran R (44). According to police, around 10.30 am, after completing their prayers, they came out of the temple. An unidentified woman and her two children were standing near the temple. Rukmani reportedly offered the children sweets. Seeing this, the woman suspecting that Rukmani was trying to kidnap the children, shouted to alert the locals. The group managed to leave the spot in the car after convincing the locals that they were not traffickers. However, a group of villagers allegedly waylaid them near Kaliyam village in Polur, just half a kilometre from the temple.
The mob surrounded the car, reportedly pulled the passengers out and started beating them, continuing to assault the five even after Polur Police arrived. Rukmani received severe injuries and was taken to the Government Tiruvannamalai Medical College Hospital (GTMCH), where she was declared brought dead. Meanwhile, the police brought the mob under control and took the other four victims to GTMCH. Venkatesan and Mohan Kumar were later referred to Government Vellore Medical College Hospital from where they were taken to Christian Medical College in Vellore. Speaking to media persons at Polur Police Station, SP R Ponni said that a case had been registered and all the guilty would be brought to book
“Humanity died when they brutally assaulted an old woman. All the culprits would be arrested and murder charge would be slapped on them,” SP R Ponni said addressing the media after a 65-year-old woman was allegedly beaten to death by villagers suspecting her to be a child trafficker.
She said that no complaints had been registered in connection with child trafficking in the district. People in villages were susceptible to rumours due to their ignorance, she said.
There have been a spate of such incidents in the recent past, with three such incidents having been reported from Cheyyar Taluk alone on May 2. In the first incident, a man selling ducks was allegedly beaten after villagers suspected him to be a thief. Police found this suspicion to be baseless during questioning and he then let go.
In the second incident, a Village Administrative Officer of Madipakkam and a surveyor from Kancheepuram district were reportedly roughed up by residents of Dusi village. In the third incident, reported from Madipakkam, the villagers caught a man from North India and assaulted him suspecting him to be a thief.
Police found he had simply been visiting a relative in a nearby village. Meanwhile, in the third week of April, a 19-year-old man was allegedly stoned to death by residents of Sumangali village, when he and two others were going to pick up a friend from Vembakkam bus stand. The villagers had mistaken him for a thief.