Rumours of child-lifting led to another gruesome incident in Karnataka, in which a 28-year-old was killed and three were injured in a mob attack at Murki village in Aurad taluk, near Bidar, on Friday.
Mohammad Azam Usmansab was lynched, while his friends Mohammad Salman Alinor, Talha Ismail Qureshi, and Noor Mohammad Sadique were injured. They were shifted to Hyderabad and were recovering, Bidar police said.
Afroz, who works in Hyderabad, had invited Mr. Qureshi, who had returned recently from Qatar, and the others to his native village in Bidar. The incident occurred when they were driving back to Hyderabad from Bidar and stopped at Balkut Gokul tanda to take pictures.
Chocolates invite attack
When the friends spotted some children in the village, they offered them chocolates brought by Mr. Qureshi.
The area had been tense after a series of messages on WhatsApp had warned residents of child-lifters who operated in groups. According to the police, the residents noticed the men distributing chocolates and were convinced they were child-lifters as their new car had no registration plates.
A mob gathered and the assault began. Mr. Afroz, who had accompanied his friends, tried to explain that they were not kidnappers. But the frenzied mob was in no mood to listen.
In the melee, the friends sped away. However, the residents called their acquaintances in Murki village, about 6 km away, and asked them to stop the car. Police said a WhatsApp group called ‘Mother Murki’ spread panic.
Fearing another impending assault at Murki, the men attempted to speed through but the car fell into an empty stream. Some residents called the police while others pulled the men out and beat them. Four policemen arrived soon, but they were outnumbered. Rumours led to a lynching in Chamarajpet in May.
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