“MoS for Maharashtra, appealed it’s citizen not to believe on posts that are circulated on different social media platforms.”
PUNE: In yet another incident of violence triggered by social media rumours, five persons were beaten to death in Maharashtra’s Dhule district on Sunday by villagers, who suspected them to be a part of a gang of “child lifters”.
The incident took place in the tribal hamlet of Rainpada in Sakri taluka, nearly 325 km from Mumbai. Here the five were among a group of seven-eight people assaulted by the mob comprising more than 35 people, including children.
‘Dead bodies lying outside panchayat office’
According to Dhule police, the incident took place between 10.45 am and 11.15 am. A call was made to Dhule control room and Pimpalner police station at 11.10 am. By 12.10 pm, a team of 10 policemen was sent to the spot.
“While the call was made at 11.10 am, it took time to mobilise the police party as many of the policemen were on leave. A team left by noon, but since the hamlet is deep inside a jungle area, about 30 kms from the police station, with bad road connectivity, it took the team about an hour to reach the spot. By then, the victims had been lynched and their bodies were lying in the panchayat office, which had blood stains,” said an officer from Pimpalner police station, where the case has been registered.
‘Whatsapp post being a reason for lynching’
A case has been registered against 35 people, of which 12 are from the Rainpada village. They have been booked under Section 302 (murder) and sections pertaining to rioting of the IPC.
The police in their report has stated that the accused hail from a tribal village where WhatsApp posts pertaining to child kidnappers had gone viral. And based on the posts, the mob suspected the victims to be child lifters and thrashed them to death.
Maharashtra’s State minister, Deepak Kesarkar had assured that strict action would be taken against all the accused and has appealed everybody not to believe on post that are circulated on different social media platform.
Earlier this month on June 20 similar incident took place, where two persons were lynched in Chandgaon village, in Vajipur taluka of Aurangabad, on the suspicion of being robbers.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra police has asked its district police and commissionarates to submit reports on such incidents over the last three months.
“There is a need to spread awareness about rumours being spread by mischievous elements to create panic among masses that a group of people are moving & trying to commit crimes like kidnapping of children for begging, organ harvesting etc. Such rumour mongering is creating scare among masses who, at times, are resorting to attack on finding strangers. Incidents of such attacks leading to grievous injury and death have been reported from many units in the state, and it may escalate, leading to law and order problem,” said an advisory issued by the Maharashtra Police.