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A 35-year-old man was beaten up and paraded at Gajarda village in the Waghodia area of Vadodara on Saturday on suspicion of being a child-lifter, said police. In a 20-second video clip of the incident that went viral on social media, villagers were seen slapping the victim and questioning him about “other members of the child-lifter gang”. The villagers later handed him over to the police.
According to the police, the man hailed from Odisha and is suffering from depression. “The victim is not a member of any child-lifting gang. Rumours on social media led to the incident. The cyber cell is investigating the source of these rumours,” said Inspector Darshan Rao. Police have informed the victim’s family in Odisha. “His family says that he is suffering from depression, and he would leave home, disappear for a few days and then come back… Till few years ago, he worked at Apollo tyres in Shalikota in West Bengal, but later quit his job and moved back to Odisha,” Rao added.
Police are trying to find out how the victim, who speaks only Odia, reached Vadodara and became a victim of the child-lifting rumors. No complaint has been registered against the villagers.
Earlier this week, a 40-year-old woman beggar was lynched by a mob in Ahmedabad city on the suspicion of being a child-lifter. The incident had led to MoS Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja urging people to not believe in rumors. He had also directed police to take action against those found spreading rumors.