Five more cases were registered over the last 24 hours in different districts of Uttar Pradesh in which people were attacked on suspicion of being child-lifters. Among those assaulted were three mentally challenged people. Several people have been arrested, based on videos of the incidents of assault, the police said on Saturday.
The Sunday Express looks at the cases.
Four people were arrested on Saturday on the basis of a video of assault of a mentally unstable woman in Puranpur village following rumours of child-lifting.
Hyderabad police station SHO Dharmdas Siddharth said the woman was beaten up after rumours spread on social media about local children allegedly going missing.
“We identified the people from the video. They were seen assaulting her with sticks, punching and kicking her,” Siddharth said. “The woman, identified as Kiran, 35, is mentally unstable and belongs to neighbouring Pooranpur village. She had gone to Ahmednagar village, where she was mistaken for a child-lifter and assaulted (on Friday morning).”
The police have booked 10 unidentified people in the FIR. “Four of them have been arrested,” the SHO said.
A mentally challenged youth, identified as Sonu Tiwari, was beaten on Friday morning at Pura Sambhalshah village by 40 or 50 people on suspicion of being abductors. The incident occurred in an area under Sarpataha police station.
SHO Shashi Chandra Chaudhari said Tiwari comes from Amnaitkhurd village, around 10 km away. He said two of the three suspects were arrested on Saturday; the third is absconding.
“A police team rescued the victim after a call was made to our emergency number. We lodged a case against three people after recognising them from the video. We are trying to identify the others,” Chaudhari said.
Seven people were assaulted for allegedly beating up a mentally challenged youth, who is yet to be identified, at Meenanagar, under Machhaula police station, on Friday.
Machhaula SHO Ajay Kumar Gautam said the man was assaulted after he was mistaken for a child-lifter. “Around 6 pm on Friday, a few local people found him roaming around the area and attacked him with sticks. A rumour was spread that a child-lifter had been caught. The youth has not been identified yet; he is not able to communicate yet,” Gautam said.
“Seven people were named in the FIR, lodged after a video of the assault went viral on social media,” he added.
A case was lodged against 50 unidentified people for allegedly vandalising a car in Machhligaon village, under Campiyarganj police station, over suspicion that a child-lifter was in the vehicle.
Campiyarganj Circle Officer Sushil Kumar Singh said a police team rescued the family, who escaped unhurt. “A woman, Tarranum (22), belonging to Kushinagar, was traveling with her mother and brother and had stopped the car near a police outpost to offer namaz when she was confronted by local residents, who suspected that she was a child-abductor,” Singh said.
While a police team escorted the family to the police outpost, the crowd damaged the car and recorded a video of the incident, Singh said, adding that one person was arrested on the basis of the video.
A case was lodged against three people, including vice-principal of a private school under Atariya police station, for alleged involvement in spreading rumours about the presence of child-lifters. SHO, Atariya, Pushpraj Khushwaha said it was found that rumour was started by one Mitlesh Mishra.
The SHO said: “On Friday afternoon, Mishra says he heard people talking at his shop that children were going missing from a private school – Model Public School – where around 500 children study. Mishra informed one Praveen Bajpai, who in turn told vice-principal of neighbouring Swarachna Inter College, Rupesh Kumar, that two children from Model School had gone missing. Rupesh alerted the school’s principal, who asked his staff to call parents of each child and confirm whether anyone had gone missing. It was later found that all the children had returned home.”
Police have arrested all three and are looking for source of the rumour,” the SHO said.