The South Zone police in Hyderabad along with the Commissioner’s Task Force arrested 14 people on Tuesday in connection with the murder of a transgender person at Chandrayangutta on May 26.
Earlier this week, 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.
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.
The police said that the entire issue started at around 11 pm near Ajeem hotel at Hafeez Babanagar as three youth, Hussain, Muqaram and Rafiq, suspected that they were child kidnappers and began thrashing them. As the transgender people tried to run away, they were chased by a larger crowd, the police said.
The police added that a religious head came to the rescue of two of the victims and told the mob that such violence during the holy month of Ramzan was not right.
However, even as two people were rescued, two others were attacked by a mob consisting of more than 100 people and one died while undergoing treatment at the Osmania General Hospital (OGH).
The South Zone police swung into action and detained close to 40 persons, following which an investigation was conducted and 14 people were sent to judicial remand, including one minor.
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.
“The biggest challenge for the police was to bring the situation under control and to ensure peace and tranquillity. Keeping in view the severity of the episode, the teams were deployed to various sensitive places to prevent any further untoward incident from occurring. The teams from all police stations in the old city have conducted patrolling in each and every area, lanes and by lanes to ensure harmony,” the police said in a press release.
“After the careful and detailed analysis of the CCTV footages 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 specialized 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,” the police said.
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.
Speaking to reporters, Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar said, “We have already identified a few fake websites and we have also identified people who have been sharing and spreading fake news and rumours. There is a vested interest. Some of these people are downloading videos from other countries like Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, Burma etc, which has nothing to do with Hyderabad. A group has been identified, two cases have been registered and we will arrest them soon.”
“In case of any doubts, please feel free to contact the police,” he added.