UP sees 20 mob attacks in three days after child-lifting rumours go viral

Despite their concerted efforts, the police are yet to succeed in quelling such rumours. A police advisory said that strictest action would be taken against those indulging in violence.

Published: 27th August 2019 06:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2019 08:12 PM   |  A+A-

People raise slogans and hold placards as they protest against mob lynching and sexual violence against women in Ahmedabad. (Photo | PTI)

Police said the number of such incidents is going up due to rumours being spread through social media.. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: In another incident of mob lynching, a man was killed after being thrashed brutally by a mob owing to the rumours of child lifting in Sambhal on Tuesday.

As per the sources, two siblings had gone to see a doctor for the treatment of their nephew that suddenly a mob caught hold of them and started beating them on the suspicion of child lifting. Both were dragged to a field and the beating continued.

On getting the information, the police rushed to the spot and rescued both the brothers. On taking them to the hospital, one of them was declared dead upon arrival.  Five persons were arrested for assaulting the duo.

ALSO READ: Rumours, fears behind rise in mob violence in Bihar and Jharkhand

Meanwhile, incidents of the mob attacking people on the basis of rumours of child lifting are taking alarming dimensions as over 20 such incidents have happened during the last three days in Uttar Pradesh, especially, western UP districts.

On Tuesday, four such incidents came to light from different districts including Shamli, Bulandshahr and Hapur, all in western UP. Five women were thrashed badly by a mob while they were selling ropes suspecting them to be child-lifters in Shamli district. They could be rescued when the district police officials reached the spot.

Similarly, in Bulandshahr, a mentally challenged man was beaten up by the mob on the same suspicion of child lifting. In Hapur, a woman had to face the mob’s wrath after being mistaken for a child lifter.

As per the police authorities, the number of such incidents is going up due to rumours being spread through social media.

In Bareilly, on Monday, a mentally retarded man had to survive punches, kicks and slaps for over an hour just because he had snatched Rs 10 note from the hands of a child in the market place as he was hungry or days. Even the cops who tried to intervene were also beaten up and chased by the angry mob.

Finally, the authorities had to call in additional force to control the situation and sent the victim to the hospital.

The case of Nighasan in Lakhimpur Kheri on Friday was a peculiar one. Three cops of Haryana police, in plain clothes, were suddenly surrounded by a mob as they were mistaken as the child-lifters.

However, they had been in Kheri in connection with some case. They were also rescued by the local police.

As per the police sources, the rumours about a gang of child-lifters on the prowl is doing rounds on various social media platforms including Whatsapp in western UP for days now.

On Monday, four men—three youths and a middle-aged person--  were beaten up each in Meerut, Shamli, Bijnor and Bareilly while a woman was attacked by angry mob in Etah district on charges of child theft.

In Etah, the cops rushed to the spot on getting the information that a woman was being beaten up by a group of people on suspicion of child theft. The cops rescued her and booked around a dozen persons for the violence against the woman on the basis of her complaint.

According to sources, the woman belonged to Himachal Pradesh and had come to visit her sister in Etah.

“People in villages are keeping around the clock vigil believing the rumours about
the child lifters’ gang active in western UP,” said a local source.

As per the police sources, over a thousand people had already been booked for such
attacks in the last one month and scores were already in jail.

Despite their concerted efforts, the police of various districts have yet to get success in capping such rumours.

I-G Meerut zone, Alok Singh even issued an advisory against rumour-mongering over child lifting leading to mob violence in various districts. Issuing a word of caution to the alleged rumour-mongers, the police advisory said that strictest action would be taken against those who would be found indulging in violence. They would even be identified from the videos of violence which go viral
on social media.

“No child has been lifted or as gone missing so far from any district as no gang is operating anywhere. It is just that some anti-social mischievous elements are spreading rumours on the basis of pictures and videos which have nothing to do with the state,” said a senior police official.

Even in some villages, district police authorities were carrying out public announcements to assure people of the presence of police all the time and that no child lifting gang was active, said a senior cop.

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