In the latest such incident, three people suspected of being child kidnappers were beaten up by a mob in Gujarat’s Tapi district on Wednesday. The police rejected claims that the accused were kidnappers, and blamed social media for spreading the rumour, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
Dilip Devram Savre, a 40-year-old resident of Palanpurpatia in Surat was assaulted in Kukarmunda village near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. The police said the residents thought he was a kidnapper as he had given a chocolate to a child. The second incident took place in Pati village in Dolvan taluka, where residents assaulted two men taking pictures on their mobile phones. The police arrived and rescued them.
“We verified both cases and found that the victims were not members of any gang involved in kidnapping,” Tapi District Superintendent of Police NN Chaudhary said. “The rumours of a kidnapping gang have gone viral. We have started sending teams to different villages to make people aware of such rumours. We have also put a tab on some WhatsApp groups and called persons who have sent such rumours.”
Residents in Manipur’s Champhai and Ikaijoging villages beat up two men on Wednesday after suspecting them to be cannibals looking to kidnap children. The men were saved after some local people stepped in and called the police, NDTV reported.
“Both of them appear to be mentally unstable and are under police guard at a hospital,” an unidentified police officer said. “There have been rumours about the presence of child kidnappers and cannibals in the state for many days, but no report of missing children in the last one month.”
People in central Assam’s Dima Hasao district surrounded three people travelling in a car registered in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, suspecting them to be child abductors, The Hindu reported. However, soldiers patrolling the area intervened and saved them.
“The cooperation of some local people helped avert a serious situation,” District Superintendent of Police Prasanta Saikia said.