A pregnant woman who is hearing and speech impaired was beaten by a mob in Northeast Delhi last week after she was suspected of attempting to abduct a child, NDTV reported on Sunday.

The incident occurred in the city’s Harsh Vihar neighbourhood on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Atul Kumar Thakur told The Times of India. The police have arrested five people – Deepak (27), Shakuntala (52), Lalit Kumar (29), Aas Mohammed (32) and Savitri Devi (45), according to PTI.

According to the police, the four-month pregnant woman is from Tughlakabad in southeast Delhi, and was thrown out of her in-laws’ home in Faridabad on August 18, News18 reported. She was missing since then. “Somehow, the woman reached Harsh Vihar and was staying on the footpath,” said Thakur. “The locals used to give her food but on August 27, they attacked her.” A video of the incident went viral on social media.

In recent weeks, there have reports of mob violence against people suspected of attempting to abduct children. In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the police have said they will invoke the National Security Act against people who spread rumours about child lifting.

Ten people, including two police personnel, were injured after a group of local residents in the state’s Fatehpur district pelted stones at them on August 28 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 kidnapping children. In Kanpur, a mob beat up two beggars in Bhim Nagar, suspecting them of being child abductors.

On August 25, a woman was thrashed in Etah on suspicion of being a child kidnapper.

In Bihar, at least five people have been killed in just one month over rumours of child lifting, FactChecker.in reported. All the eight attacks stemmed from rumours circulated on social media. Nationwide, since 2012, 44 people have been killed and at least 131 injured in 87 attacks linked to child-lifting rumours, according to a FactChecker.in database.

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