JEYPORE: Three more incidents of mob attack on innocents mistaken to be child lifers were reported in tribal-dominated Koraput district. On Thursday evening, villagers of Mathaput mistook a youth, who was roaming on the streets in Damanjodi area, as a child abductor and thrashed him. Later, the mob handed over the youth, who hails from West Bengal, to the police. Police said the youth, who is undergoing treatment in a hospital now, had come to Damanjodi to work in a hotel.
In a similar incident on the same day, three persons hailing from Bihar sustained minor injuries after they were assaulted by locals of Nandapur. All of them are hawkers selling stationery items in the villages. On being informed, police rushed to the village and rescued them. On Friday, a man from Andhra Pradesh was assaulted by locals at Koraput town, while a handicapped youth from Bihar was attacked at Jeypore five days back.
Sources said the attacks were triggered by rumours of child kidnappers prowling in Koraput, Dasmantpur, Naryanpatana, Bandhugam, Nandapur, Lamatput and Boipariguda blocks that went viral on social media recently. Panicked locals are chasing and attacking the strangers who pass through their villages on the suspicion of being child lifters. Petty vendors from Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh usually come to the district for seasonal business and they stay in temporary sheds on the outskirts of Jeypore and Koraput. The hawkers often visit remote villages for selling their materials and fall victim to mob attacks as they are unable to understand or speak local language.
Meanwhile, police have issued an advisory urging people not to take law into their own hands. They said people should immediately report to police if they observe any suspicious behaviour instead of resorting to violence. Action will be taken against persons taking law into their own hands. All police stations in the district have been put on alert over the issue.In Rayagada, four unidentified persons, including a juvenile, were mercilessly beaten up in separate incidents on suspicion of being child lifters.
On Thursday, villagers of Mathaput mistook a youth, who was roaming on the streets in Damanjodi area, as a child abductor and thrashed him
Three persons hailing from Bihar sustained minor injuries after they were assaulted by locals of Nandapur
On Friday, a man from Andhra Pradesh was assaulted by locals at Koraput town