Repeated incidents of mob fury over rumours of child lifting have become a huge headache for the police in Rajasthan. In several cases, suspicions of child lifting have led the mob to thrash some innocent victims.
To curb these rumours that can even lead to mob lynching, the Police Headquarters in Jaipur has now instructed all district SPs to deny such rumours on a priority basis.
As in many other states, after mob lynching in the name of cow slaughter, it is rumours of child lifting that are fueling similar incidents in Rajasthan.
In recent weeks, such cases have been reported from Pali, Jodhpur, Banswara, Dungarpur, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur, Udaipur and Alwar that has been the most notorious in mob lynching cases where over 20 such cases were reported during the past three days.
In Banswara, a ‘behroopiya’ [people who don different dresses to depict different characters] was thrashed as he was mistaken for a child lifter while in Dungarpur a woman was badly beaten up by people over rumours that she was a child lifter.
The police say that many are misusing social media platforms to spread baseless rumours about child lifters. In many instances, rumours and videos floated on social media have gone viral asking people to be on alert and have eventually led to innocents being badly attacked by mobs.
In Pali district, a mob alleging that a woman was involved in child lifting was not only thrashed but even her clothes were sought to be torn off by the angry mob. In Ajmer, a woman teacher who was trying to argue with students of a different school was mistaken as a child lifter and chased by a mob of 300 people; she was saved from mob fury only after she sought the protection of a nearby police station.
In Chittorgarh district, six incidents happened within a week where women were thrashed by mobs suspecting them to be child-lifters though later they all turned out to be mental patients.
In rural Jaipur also, two such cases have been reported where one woman and a young ragpicker were suspected to be child-lifters and thrashed but later they proved to be innocent victims.
Looking to check this flood of mob attacks over rumours of child-lifters, senior police officials have instructed all SPs and DCPs in the state to lodge criminal cases against people who misuse social media and fake videos to spread false rumours and instigate mob attacks.
With dozens of such cases being reported in the past two months, the Police Headquarters has asked all districts to send reports about such crimes. ADG crime B.L.Soni says: “We have asked for reports and the truth in all such cases of mob attacks. We will initiate tough action against all those who spread rumours and instigate violence against innocents.”