In yet another incident of violence, a mob assaulted a man in Phoolbagan area of North Kolkata on Friday, suspecting him to be a child-lifter. Seventeen people have been arrested in this connection, police said.
The victim, identified as Md Asif, was reportedly roaming around in the area when a group of people asked him about his whereabouts. When he failed to respond properly to their questions, the local people tied him to a lamp post and beat him up, sources said. According to the attending doctors, the condition of the victim, who is undergoing treatment in Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, is stated to be stable.
“A case has been lodged and 17 people have been arrested. Two policemen from the Phoolbagan Police Station were heckled by the mob when they tried to rescue the man,” said a senior police official.
“A case has been registered at the local police station under Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code,” the official added.
A social monitoring cell was opened at the state secretariat Saturday to keep a tab on rumours on child-lifters spread through social media,
Rattled by the growing incidents of mob violence, Director General of Police, Virendra, Saturday held a meeting with top police officials, including all the superintendents of police (SP), through video conferencing. The DGP has asked the police officials to tighten their sources so that exchange of information is faster, sources said. “Senior officials have been asked to stay on alert all the time,” an SP-ranked official told The Sunday Express.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma also held a meeting with all officers-in-charge of the police stations under the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police Saturday. They were also asked to remain alert and take all necessary steps to ensure safety of people. Sources said that in the wake of mob attacks, the state government has also asked police officers to monitor social media.
Besides, Kolkata Police have put out a message on its official Facebook page urging people to stop fake news and rumours from spreading.
There have been a rise in incidents of mob violence fuelled by rumours and several people were injured in different parts of the state. In Kolkata alone, more than 10 people have been injured. Two days back, a woman was beaten up in Howrah’s Tikiapara on suspicion of being a child-lifter. Policemen were also attacked when they went to rescue her. On the same day, a 35-year-old man was lynched in Purulia district after he was caught stealing.
On Monday, five persons were beaten up on suspicion of being child-lifters in Howrah. Police rescued them.