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How ‘child lifting’ rumours are causing mob violence (again)
In Uttar Pradesh, for nearly a month now, there have been a spate of attacks on people over the suspicion of being child abductors or ‘child lifters’. Since August 9, as many as 160 people have been arrested in 50 cases related to attacks on mistaken identities and spread of rumours across the state. In this episode, we take a deep dive into these cases of mob violence. We also look at how the spread of fake news on platforms, like Whatsapp, worsens this problem and what the police is doing to tackle it.
First, we speak to Asad Rehman who has reported on a number of these cases. He details how such instances come about, how the mentally challenged often end up becoming the target and what measures the UP police is taking right now. Next, we speak to Mohamed Thaver, who reported on similar instances of mob violence and lynchings last year. He tell us about the patterns that were common in the killings last year and the steps that the government took back then. And last, Nandagopal Rajan, who writes on technology for the Indian Express, explains what makes the problem of fake news different in India, why it is particularly hard to get rid of it on Whatsapp and talks about the possible long term solutions to this problem.
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