In a gruesome incident, a man suspected of robbery has been lynched to death by a murderous mob in Cuddalore district. A video of the incident shows a mob of angry men repeatedly beating the 45-year-old man who is yet to be identified by the police. He is held by the collar and yanked from side to side by the mob. He yells, “Chachi pothanu” in Telugu, meaning, “I will die.” As soon as he yells this, a man in a white shirt approaches him and asks him to speak either in Telugu, Tamil or Hindi and slaps him on the face. The mob is seen abusing him in foul language throughout.
Even as they are beating him up, a man in a saffron veshti and towel is holding on to the 45-year-old, in an apparent attempt to prevent the battered man from escaping.
While some members of the mob are heard yelling at others not to beat him, the men beat him repeatedly, asking him to sit down. As the man yells and groans for life, the laughing mob forces his hands back.
"See how he is not allowing us to tie his hands," says one member of the mob. Another man, off camera, who is apparently tying the man's hands is heard saying, "He is holding on tightly, I cannot tie it back."
According to the office of the Superintendent of Police, Cuddalore, the man was beaten up on the assumption that he was a thief. The local police station is investigating the claims of the mob that the man was reportedly trying to rob shops in the area.
An FIR has been registered under Section 304(II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
The latest incident comes in the wake of a horrifying series of lynching in the state that have taken place this year largely owing to racist rumour-mongering on WhatsApp about child traffickers on the prowl.
In May this year, a 65-year-old Chennai woman was lynched in a Thiruvannamalai village after she was mistaken for a child abductor. A mob of over 200 men closed down on Rukmini and her family members who were traveling to Thiruvannamalai and beat them up, killing Rukmini on the spot.
According to officers, the villagers were on edge after seeing videos of child traffickers on WhatsApp and assumed that Rukmini and the rest of the group had come to abduct the kids in their village.
In a similarly shocking incident that took place in the heart of Chennai city in July this year, two construction workers from Bihar were beaten up by an angry mob over suspicions of being child traffickers.
(With inputs from Sreedevi Jayarajan)
(This story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)