Five persons were killed in Maharashtra’s Dhule district today by villagers, who suspected that they were part of a gang of child lifters, police said.
The five, along with a few others, were seen getting down from a state transport bus in the tribal Rainpada hamlet, police said.
When one of them apparently tried to speak to a girl child, villagers, who had gathered for the weekly Sunday bazaar, pounced on them, they said.
“Five were killed in the mob fury,” police said.
According to police, there were rumours for the last few days that a gang of child lifters was active in the area.
We have arrested 10 people. Strong action will be taken. I appeal everybody not to believe in such posts that are circulated on social media. Law should not be taken in hands. I will visit Dhule tomorrow: Deepak Kesarkar, MoS, Maharashtra on 5 people lynched in Dhule pic.twitter.com/eGH6L7HFTg
— ANI (@ANI) July 1, 2018
Here is a brief look at some of the recent incidents:
In another incident on 8 June, two men were allegedly beaten to death and seven others there were injured, one of them critically, after a mob of villagers attacked them on suspicion of being robbers in Chandgaon village in Aurangabad district’s Vaijapur taluka.
Police said a mob of at least 1,500 villagers allegedly attacked nine men with wooden sticks after nabbing them from near a farm in the village ge othe n morning of 8 June.
A Vaijapur police station official said some fake messages about the presence of a “gang of robbers” were doing rounds on Whatsapp and the incident wathe s fallout of these rumours.
Three persons were beaten to death on Thursday on the suspicion of being child-lifters in three districts of Tripura.
Thirty-three-year-old Sukanta Chakrabarty was lynched at Kalachakra in South Tripura district. He was a member of a Tripura Information and Culture Department team set up by the state government to campaign against rumour-mongering.
An unidentified woman and a hawker from Uttar Pradesh were also lynched the same day at Bishalgarh in Sipahijala district and Murari in West Tripura district respectively.
Following the incidents, the state government on Thursday imposed a ban on mobile internet and SMS services in the state for 48 hours, citing a threat to public safety.
A 40-year-old woman was beaten to death by a mob on 26 June in Ahmedabad on the suspicion of being a child-lifter.
The incident took place at the Juna Vadaj Circle when a mob of around 30 persons attacked four women travelling in an auto rickshaw, said inspector JA Rathva of Vadaj police station.
A WhatsApp text circulating in some districts of Madhya Pradesh helped to inflame a mob of 50-60 villagers into savagely beating up two innocent men on 17 June on suspicion that they were going to murder people and sell their body parts.
The essence of the message, written in Hindi, was that 500 people disguised as beggars were roaming the area so that they could kill people to harvest their organs. The message also urged recipients to forward it to friends and family. Police say the message was fake.
Police officers who joined several local WhatsApp groups, found three men circulating the message and they were arrested, said Jayadevan A, the police chief for Balaghat district, where the incident occurred.
Rumours about a gang of child-lifters being in the area were swirling on social media, he said. The SP added that no such gang was reported in the district, but rumours made people suspicious of every stranger who came to the village.
Social media rumours falsely accusing two young Assamese men of being child lifters led to their lynching.
Nilotpal Das (29), a sound engineer, and Abhijeet Nath (30), a businessman, were on 8 June pulled out of their vehicle at Panjuri in Karbi Anglong district and beaten to death by a mob, who suspected them to be child-lifters, following dissemination of fake news on social media.
The prime accused in the lynching was arrested from Karbi Anglong district in the early hours of 13 June, a senior police officer said. With that, the total number of people arrested in connection with the incident and spreading hate messages and rumours after it rose to 64, the officer said.