14 Held After Hyd Mob Lynches Trans Person Over WhatsApp Rumour
Screenshots from the video of the incident. 
Screenshots from the video of the incident. (Photo courtesy: The News Minute)

14 Held After Hyd Mob Lynches Trans Person Over WhatsApp Rumour

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Fourteen people have been arrested by the South Zone police in Hyderabad along with the Commissioner’s Task Force, after a transgender person was killed by a mob on the basis of a fake WhatsApp rumours on 26 May.

After the incident, the South Zone police detained 40 persons, following which an investigation was conducted and 14 people, including one minor, were sent to judicial remand.

The accused have been identified as Mohd Sohail (19), Mohd Muqtar (21), Hani Bin Haid (60), Shaik Mohamood Bin Ahmed Fazil Ahmed (19), Hussain Saadi (26), Mohd Rafi (29), Mohd Sirajuddin (26), Syed Ashraf Moinuddin (18), Mohd Sumair (20), Mohd Akram (30), Sarfaraz Khan (19), Abdullah Bin Sultan Lahaji (50), Mohd Basheer (34) and a minor boy.
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What Happened?

The incident took place in Chandrayangutta, when a group of transgender women were attacked by a mob who believed that they were part of a dacoit gang out to kidnap children, based on WhatsApp forwards. One of the women was killed by the mob.

According to the police, the four transgender women had travelled to Hyderabad from Telangana's Mahabubnagar district, and were seeking alms during Ramzan. Local residents stopped them and started questioning them. The mob then attacked them, and two of the women were badly injured. A video of the incident shows the police trying to ward off the angry mob even as two people lay motionless on the ground.

According to reports, the injured were shifted to the Osmania General Hospital, where one of them succumbed to her injuries. Her body has been shifted to the mortuary for an autopsy. One other person was grievously injured.

Tensions ran high in the middle of the night as locals pelted stones at the patrol vehicle which came to rescue the trans women, accusing them of ‘saving kidnappers.’ Some policemen were also injured in the melee.

A video of the incident also shows South Zone DCP S Satyanarayana on the ground, seemingly yelling at the mob. Extra forces were deployed in the old city area to bring the situation under control. The attack comes after several fake videos of “kidnappers” began doing the rounds on WhatsApp groups in the city.

According to the police, they also laid blame on ‘social media’ reporters in the old city area, who extensively circulated the fake news about the child kidnapping gangs.

Based on this, they also arrested two ‘reporters’ from these news outlets, Syed Saleem and Subhan, for posting fake news.

“After the careful and detailed analysis of the CCTV footage and the videos from the cell phones besides the collection of local intelligence, the root cause of the provocation of the sudden incident was identified. Some of the culprits who were the main reason behind the entire episode were arrested. Further evidence is being gathered to arrest the remaining accused,” the release added.

The police said that teams were deployed on the ground, to ensure that such rumours do not spread further.

A specialiSed team of the Cyber experts was also roped in to closely monitor the social media for any updates. Several pickets have been established at various places using a few platoons of force besides the regular patrolling to ensure law and order. The general public was also briefed via various media platforms to allay the fears and to prevent the spread of rumours. A few persons were questioned thoroughly to ascertain the identity of the culprits.
Hyderabad Police

Taking to Twitter on Sunday (27 May) morning, the Hyderabad police had tweeted, “Dear all, please don’t believe and share news that gangs from other states have entered into Telugu states (robbers and kidnappers) on your social media accounts. It is all fake.”

“Don’t share viral content, which makes the citizens unnecessarily panic. If you suspect someone, just dial 100 or share information with your local police via whatever means is available to you. Thank you,” it added.

Another Man Thrashed by a Mob in Hyderabad

This comes days after a man with mental health issues was thrashed by a mob in Pahadishareef of Hyderabad over rumours that he was member of a deadly interstate dacoit gang – Pardhi gang. However, with the timely intervention of the police, the victim was saved from the agitated mob.

In a horrific video being shared on social media, the victim is stripped and repeatedly thrashed with sticks and PVC pipes by an angry mob, who question his intention and ask him to reveal his identity.

Earlier this week, Telangana Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy directed the Superintendents of each district to hold workshops in every village on how to identify fake news, and also reassure people that there is no presence of any dacoit gang in the state.

(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished here with permission)

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