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Cops against fake news challenge in Bengaluru after mob lynched a 26-year-old man from Rajasthan

Videos and messages are encouraging mobs to target innocent people assumed to be child-lifters; cops helpless in controlling such cruel incidents

Published: 25th May 2018 02:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2018 02:49 AM   |  A+A-

People gathered at Chamarajpet police station in Bengaluru following detention of the accused in a lynching case | pushkar v

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The horrific incident reported from Chamarajpet in Bengaluru on Wednesday where a 26-year-old job-searching man from Rajasthan was lynched by a mob which assumed him to be a child-lifter based on fake news and alerts raising such suspicions, has raised serious concerns about how social media is being used by mischievous elements to encourage such incidents.While the latest incident occurred in Bengaluru, which is considered a global city with a cosmopolitan population, such incidents have been reported from Kolar, Tumakuru, Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and other districts of late. 

The police are clearly helpless as they cannot control what is being put out on social media. A senior police official said, “Since WhatsApp and other social media sites are handled by foreign companies, it is very challenging for us to identify what kind of messages are being shared.”According to another senior police officer, “There is no proper mechanism to keep tabs on things happening online and on social media platforms. Perhaps, there is no such advanced system in the entire country.”

In  past one week, districts like Kolar, Tumakuru, Vijayapura and Kalaburagi have witnessed mobs assaulting suspicious-looking persons from other states who had arrived looking for jobs. They were brutally thrashed by the locals, although not a single child-lifting case cropped up anywhere. 
The police officials have confirmed such cruel incidents were caused due to fake news and rumours being spread through socials networking sites.

ST Ramesh, retired Director General & Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP), told The New Indian Express: “It is the responsibility of the social media monitoring wing and the police personnel to control such rumours.Probably due to  polls, they did not have time to concentrate on spreading awareness among people and asking them to ignore rumours about child kidnappers being on the prowl.”    

Kamal Pant, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law & Order, told TNIE, “An instruction has been sent out to all police stations across the state to intensify beat policing and have meetings with prominent people of the respective localities to create awareness about false messages being spread and that there is no need to panic. On Thursday, senior police officials in Chikkaballapura, Kolara and Tumakuru also conducted meetings regarding this and pamphlets were distributed.”

 Jyothi A, state president of National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), told The New Indian Express: “Officials from cyber crime need to take strict action against such fake messages sent out by mischief-mongers. It appears to be messages that are deliberately designed by some elements to divert the attention of the masses from the burning issues in their lives. Victims’ families should be compensated.”

PAST INCIDENTS 
May 9, 2018
A mob lynched a 65-year-old woman and four others suspecting them to be child traffickers in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. Police arrested 23. 
May 22, 2018
Two people were lynched in separate incidents in Nizamabad and Yadadri districts of Telangana, after locals suspected them to be child kidnappers following rumours on WhatsApp.
May 19, 2018
Three people were lynched in separate incidents in Andhra Pradesh under suspicion of being child-lifters. 
May 17, 2018
Four persons were beaten to death in Jharkhand on the suspicion of being child-lifters. 
February 3, 2018
Mohammad Faisal Siddique (25), a migrant worker, was  lynched by a mob on suspicion of being a child-lifter in 
Uttar Pradesh. 



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