Representational Image. Image Courtesy: India Today
Lucknow: Mobs thrashed six people, including a Delhi resident and a woman beggar, over rumours of child-lifting in three fresh incidents in Uttar Pradesh, despite the police warning to invoke the National Security Act against those spreading such canard.
Attacks over rumours of child-lifting have increased over the past week in the state. On Thursday, Director General of Police O P Singh said 82 people have been arrested for spreading rumours about child theft, but incidents of public thrashing have continued.
Singh had warned authorities will invoke NSA against rumour mongers. Under the Act, a person can be detained for as long as required and authorities need not disclose the grounds of detention.
On Saturday, police said a Delhi resident was attacked in Muzaffarnagar when he was on a personal visit to the district. They said Anandpuri area residents suspected him to be a child lifter and thrashed him on Friday but an investigation found he was innocent.
In Ballia, a mob physically assaulted a woman beggar on Friday, suspecting her of being a child lifter in Kotwali Police Station area. The woman was rescued by police.
Four Labourers, Engineer Thrashed
In Banda, four labourers were beaten up in Atarra township.
Police said the labourers were taking rest at Lohia canal bridge when rumours of them being child lifters spread. A mob soon gathered and beat them up. The labourers were handed over to police, which allowed them to leave after three-hour questioning.
Police said action will be taken against people who beat the labourers after their identity is established.
Four such incidents were reported from Rae Bareli, including one in which an engineer working in a private telecom firm was attacked by 50 people, and one from Kanpur on Friday.
Some villagers were arrested in the Rae Bareli incident.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Bulandshahr, Santosh Kumar Singh told PTI at least 40 people have been arrested in the district in cases of violence related to child-lifting rumours.
On Thursday, a Delhi Police team in plain clothes, visiting Bareilly to probe a dowry case, was mistaken for child lifters. They escaped mob fury after local police rescued them.
False cases of child-lifting incidents have also been reported. A 19-year-old man was arrested on Friday for reporting a false case of child lifting in a Noida village, police said.
Before that on Wednesday, police arrested a man from Wajidpur village for allegedly spreading rumour about lifting of three children by car-borne men in Sector 135 of Noida.
The same day, a health department team was attacked by a violent mob of around 150 people in Fatehpur district after they suspected the officials to be child lifters. In another incident, 10 people, including two policemen, were injured when a group of locals pelted stones at them in Khesahan village under Ghazipur police station area.
On Tuesday in Sambhal, a 40-year-old man escorting his seven-year-old ailing nephew was lynched by a mob on suspicion of he being a child lifter.
On Monday, four people were arrested for allegedly thrashing a 50-year-old woman in Etah district on suspicion of her being a child-lifter, an official said.