Mangaluru: Father Out with Kid Thrashed over Child-Lifting Rumours
In yet another unfortunate incident of mob attack, a 30-year-old man was attacked by locals on Thursday, 5 July, in Mangaluru’s Ujire town in Belthangady taluk on suspicion of being a child-abductor.
The man, Kaleed, was travelling in an auto with his two-year-old daughter on Thursday evening. The daughter was crying as Kaleed was scolding and hitting her. Two locals on a bike noticed the crying child, followed the auto and brought it to a halt, and then forced Kaleed to step outside.
When they confronted him about the child, an annoyed Kaleed refused to tell them anything, which resulted in the two men branding him as a child-abductor and beating him up.
Soon, a crowd gathered. More people started hitting Kaleed, at which point he began to cry out that the child was his own.
The Ujire police arrived at the spot fast enough to break up the crowd and free Kaleed. The police said no one came forward when they questioned about who started the attack. The police then took Kaleed and his daughter to the police station, with the locals following them, claiming that Kaleed was indeed a child-abductor.
At the station, police officials contacted Kaleed’s wife Shameema, and were able to confirm that the child was, in fact, his daughter. After this, he was let go. An FIR has not been filed as yet.
The police then reportedly spoke to the locals and counselled them about not believing fake WhatsApp forwards. The Mangaluru police have been sending out people to different localities to tell residents not to believe the fake messages doing the rounds.
However, the police stated that many locals end up taking the law into their own hands.
Another WhatsApp forward doing the rounds says that people should not listen to police officers who claim that there are no child-abductors and that they should be wary of strangers, which, officials say, is proving to be a hindrance.
The past few months have seen a spike in the number of mob lynchings in which innocent people have been mistaken for child-abductors and beaten to death.
Recently, in Chennai, two labourers attacked by a mob were rescued in the nick of time.
Many of the recent incidents of violence and lynchings have been triggered by audio, video and text messages doing the rounds on WhatsApp. In May, a 26-year-old labourer was lynched in Bengaluru on the suspicion of being a child-lifter.
One of the messages circulated, which has spread panic, contained a collage of several dismembered bodies of children. One of the pictures in the collage shows a person wearing a mask harvesting organs.
Another picture contains this message: “All mothers and fathers, beware and share this message. Beware of child-abductors. A gang of child-abductors from Kerala are now in Karnataka and are harvesting organs of children.”