The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday announced it would invoke the National Security Act against people who spread rumours about child lifting, PTI reported. The decision was taken following recent incidents of mob violence against those suspected of kidnapping children.

The Act allows the police to detain a suspect indefinitely without disclosing the reason for detention. Director General of Police OP Singh said 82 people had been arrested so far for spreading rumours of child abduction.

“Today I want to draw your attention towards a serious issue,” Singh said in an announcement via video. “Anti-social elements are spreading rumours about child theft in different parts of the state, which has led to violence. In the probe into the incidents of violence, there is an angle of child theft. My appeal to you is do not believe in the rumours or take the law in your own hands and be a partner in the violence. If you come to know about any such incident, immediately inform on Dial-100 number.”

Ten people, including two police personnel, were injured after a group of local residents in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur district pelted stones at them on Wednesday following child abduction rumours.

The day before, a 40-year-old man taking his nephew to a doctor was lynched after residents mistook him for a kidnapper. The incident occurred in Sambhal district. The deceased’s brother, who was accompanying the two, was also grievously injured in the attack. The same day, six persons were arrested for thrashing a 50-year-old man on suspicion of child lifting, PTI reported. In Kanpur, a mob beat up two beggars in Bhim Nagar, suspecting them for child lifters.

On Sunday, a woman was thrashed in Etah on suspicion of being a child kidnapper.