BENGALURU: Just a day after a 26-year-old man who was on the lookout for a job was lynched by a mob in Chamarajpet, suspecting him to be a child-lifter, tension prevailed in Kodagurki village in Devanahalli where a farmhouse owner’s wife created a scare over a woman child-lifter supposedly arriving at her doorstep in the early hours on Thursday and threatening her with a knife. She also claimed that the woman tried to abduct her child.
Panic-stricken and angry villagers, completely believing that the intruding woman was a child-lifter, launched a village-wide search, armed with lethal weapons, all ready to lynch her if found. After a thorough search when no such woman was found, Vishwanathpura police declared it to be a false case.
According to locals, around 6:30 am, a woman said to be disguised as a beggar, arrived at the farmhouse of Nallappa Reddy and his wife Jayashri, who have a child. The suspect reportedly asked Jayashri for food, and when she was refused, threatened her with a knife. Her child was playing around her, and at being denied food, the suspect allegedly tried to kidnap the child. But she ran away when Jayashri raised an alarm.
Hundreds of villagers, including women, armed with weapons and wooden logs, spread out in all the lanes, farm lands, paddy and rice fields, but even after a two-and-a-half-hour search, no suspect was found. By then, senior police officers, who were alerted, rushed to the village. But no woman with a knife, and fitting the description given by Jayashri, could be found.
A senior police officer said “The incident in Chamarajpet is still fresh in the minds of the people, wherein 26-year-old Kaluram was lynched by a mob. We received an alert here, which is false. Jayashri also recorded her statement before the police. However, no case has been filed as it was found to be inspired by rumours which is spreading all over the state.
“We have asked the villagers to stop believing in false news or spread rumours and have warned them not to take law into their own hands. In case they hear about suspects, they must report it to the police and not on their own,” a senior police official said.It has been found that certain videos, said to be originating from Tamil Nadu, show that labourers coming from North India and who could not understand Kannada or other South Indian languages, could be involved in child-lifting and trafficking. However, these youths, like Kaluram, are coming down to South India in search of jobs.
Reacting to rumours of child-lifters on the prowl spreading like wild fire and the lynching of a young man in Chamarajpet making headlines on Thursday, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said the police will take action against rumour-mongers. “The media too has investigated and given the facts as the alleged child kidnapper who was lynched by a mob, was innocent. Steps will be taken to check such incidents,” he said.
Rumours spread like wild fire
■ Fake videos of child-lifting circulated on social media have created panic across the state. Two such incidents were reported from Mulbagal taluk on Wednesday. In one of the cases, the victim was a beggar. In the last fortnight, at least 10 people have been beaten up in different parts of North Karnataka
■ The Chamarajpet police on Thursday arrested 14 people, including two minors and four women, in connection with the lynching of Kaluram, after suspecting him to be a child-lifter.