A 25-year-old pregnant woman was allegedly beaten up by a mob in North East Delhi’s Harsh Vihar on suspicion of kidnapping a child on August 27. Police said the victim, Priyanka, who is hearing and speech impaired, was beaten up by a group of around 10 people.
Three people — Deepak (27), Shakuntala (52) and Lalit Kumar (29) — have been arrested, and a case was registered Sunday. The accused suspected the woman of kidnapping a child from the neighbourhood, police said.
Over the past month, several cases of people being beaten up over rumours of kidnapping children have surfaced in western Uttar Pradesh and NCR. Around 20 such cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh in August.
Priyanka, who is five-months pregnant, is admitted at Safdarjung Hospital and is stable, said her family.
Her brother, Sandeep Kumar, said she got married last year and shifted from South East Delhi’s Tughlakabad to Faridabad. “When she went missing, her in-laws called us and we filed a police complaint. After 10-11 days, one of our friends saw a video of her being attacked. We contacted police, who brought Priyanka back to us,” he said.
In the video that surfaced online, the woman is surrounded by 5-10 people. The mob can be heard accusing her of kidnapping children and three men are seen hitting her on her head. The mob then alleges the woman “lures kids by giving them money…” and that she “takes children from their houses through windows”.
The woman can be seen crying and requesting people to let her go, and is later made to sit outside a house. One person is also seen holding a baton and passing it on to the others. The victim can be seen gesturing for water but locals keep questioning her.
“We received a call about violence at Mandoli in Harsh Vihar. Officers rushed to the spot and found the woman. She was assaulted by some locals over suspicion of child lifting. We found the woman was not a criminal and the allegations were fake. We have registered a case under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention),” said Atul Kumar Thakur, DCP (North East).
The woman was taken to a shelter home and police helped trace the family of the victim and reunited her with her parents. Police said they are going through the video and will arrest the other accused soon. “She had gone missing from her house on August 17,” said a senior police officer. A missing person report was filed the same day.