RAIPUR: In yet another incident of mob turning into a state of frenzy by rumours, a Bangalore-based scholar pursuing his research from London had a nightmarish experience when he 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. The scared scholar Ramnath Bhatt feared for his life ran and took refuge in a nearby school but the unruly mob even gheraoed the school, not willing to spare him.
With attempts by the school teachers to convince the mob about the person being a research scholar didn't work, a school staff immediately called the police. "Such incidents are shocking. The PhD scholar from London was seen by locals in the village area talking to someone and with usual human affectionate gesture patted a child. It led to rumours about the scholar as an outsider who had visited the place with evil intentions. The fake message about him as child lifter was spread fast. Our policemen had to swing into action fast to rescue him from the impending danger", the deputy superintendent of police (rural) Garima Dwivedi told the Express.
On Sunday last an unidentified man was beaten to death by a mob in the same district on suspicion of being a child lifter. "The rumours about child-lifters are again doing rounds on WhatsApp. Everyone has a mobile nowadays so the message spreads fast and people trust the shared information without verifying the facts. Police may be trying through their community policing to educate people but the awareness among the villagers on not to believe on rumours spread on social media is apparently lacking", asserted a local journalist Kranti Kumar Rawat.
The police who rushed to the spot to take control of the situation expressed a sigh of relief as a few days ago, the rumour mongering mob attacked an unidentified man and killed him. Bhatt is pursuing research on 'digital India' and was on a visit to Sarguja in connection with his study, the police said. Chhattisgarh government has ushered upon a significant initiative to expand digital India programme in the state.