Updated: June 5, 2018 7:49:24 pm
Chilling CCTV footage of a mob attacking four crossdresser beggars, and the lynching of one of them in Chandrayangutta of Hyderabad late on Saturday night, has surfaced after five days.
Videos of two of the four beggars, belonging to the backward Buduga community known for crossdressing to seek alms, begging at Ajeem hotel at Hafiz Baba Nagar and being accosted by two persons who led the mob, have also been released.
Police have arrested 16 persons, including two ‘journalists’, who run a web channel known as ‘What’s Up’. Police said that Saleem Shiekh, the head of the web channel, and his associate Subhan relentlessly circulated false news on their web channel and social media about transgender gangs kidnapping children.
“In the CCTV footage taken from Ajeem Hotel, two customers named Hussain Saadi and Mohammed Rafi are seen showing their mobile phones to people sitting around them and pointing to the two crossdressers who were seeking alms from the hotel owner. Hussain and Mohammed told everyone that the beggars were actually child kidnappers and showed photos circulated by the Saleem and Subhan through their web channel and Whatsapp groups. Hussain and Mohammed also roughed up the beggars and chased them out of the hotel. They then raised an alarm that a child kidnapping gang of which they were warned of on Whatsapp was in the area and instigated people to attack them. A mob of over 300 quickly collected there and attacked,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Falaknuma) Sayed Fayaz said.
In the murderous attack, P Chandraiah, 52, from Devarakadra in Mahbubnagar district was beaten to death on the spot while K Swami and Y Narsimha who were rescued by police in the nick of time were seriously injured and are undergoing treatment at Osmania Hospital. A fourth person escaped unhurt.
Cops are also investigating if they were attacked for being crossdressers on the pretext of suspected child kidnappers. Sources said that the mob was instigated by some persons using religious diktats and directed people, including juveniles, to kill “such persons” pointing at the crossdressers.
Once the crossdressers were cornered by the mob near a garden, the mob started hurling big stones at them, some even saying religious slogans while hurling the stones. A juvenile, who was also arrested, told police that he was told it was his religious duty to beat the crossdressers.
Chandraiah received fatal injuries on his head and died on the spot. ACP Fayaz, however, said that the attack was mainly because the mob mistook them for child kidnappers. Both Hussain and Mohammed, who led the mob, have been arrested.
Police also arrested Mohammed Sohail, 19, lorry cleaner; Mohammed Muqtar, 21, interior decorator; Hani Bin Haid, 60, fruit seller; Shaik Mahmood Bin Ahmed Fazil Ahmed, 19, student; Mohammed Sirajuddin, 26; Syed Ashraf Moinuddin, 18, student; Mohammed Sumair, 20, student; Mohammed Akram Ali, 30, catering worker; Sarfaraz Khan, 19, student; Abdullah Bin Sultan Lahaji, 50, driver; and Mohammed Basheer, 34, plumber.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) V Satyanarayana said that based on the CCTV footage, call data records and eyewitnesses, 35 persons were taken into custody, out of which 15 were arrested, while two persons who run the web channel were arrested the next day as they circulated the fake news of transgender gangs kidnapping children.
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