Five people, including a school student, were beaten up in two separate incidents of mob violence at Harishchadrapur and Englishbazar in Malda district on Thursday.
According to police, four persons, who had set up a stall of ayurvedic medicine and amulet in Tulsihata area of Harishchadrapur, were allegedly beaten up on suspicion of being child-lifters.
“Suspecting them to be child-lifters, the local people surrounded them and asked them their purpose of visit to the area. Before they could explain anything, the local people were joined by another group and all of them started beating the men up. As we received an information about the incident, we reached the spot, but the mob even attacked the police vehicle,” said an officer.
The incident turned more violent after police tried to rescue the victim and the mob allegedly attacked and vandalised their vehicles.
Rapid Action Force had to be called in to bring the situation under control. Later, the officers from Harishchadrapur police station managed to rescue the four from the spot and took them to a local hospital, where they are said to be stable.
Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation.
“The situation is under control. Efforts are on to create awareness among people so that they do not pay heed to any rumours,” said an officer.
In another incident in Englishbazar area, a Class IX student was beaten up by the local people who reportedly mistook him for a “criminal”.
The victim, a resident of Englishbazar area, was allegedly beaten up with tube lights and sticks before his parents could rescue him.
A case has been lodged at Englishbazar police station against unknown persons.
This comes weeks after a person was lynched by a mob while two others were seriously injured in attacks in Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri districts earlier this month.
Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts in north Bengal have witnessed mob attacks on eight persons since July 22.
In the wake of growing incidents of lynching and mob attacks, the West Bengal Assembly recently passed a Bill as well, providing for life imprisonment to those injuring a person and capital punishment for causing death. West Bengal is now the second state in the country after Rajasthan to have passed an anti-lynching Bill.
Just like The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, the draft of The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019, proposed life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh as the maximum punishment for someone whose act is found to lead to death of a person. The Bill, that carries punishment of jail term of three years to life imprisonment in cases of assault leading to injury, besides fines ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh, was tabled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the last Assembly session.
In case of death, perpetrators can be punished with death sentence or rigorous life imprisonment.