Another case of a mob taking matters into their own hands due to fake WhatsApp messages on child abductors has come to light in Tamil Nadu.
A man and a woman were thrashed by a mob in Gangavalli, in Salem district.
The police took into custody 4 persons, who are charged with assault of the duo, who reportedly came from Bengaluru. According to reports, the lady and the man were standing in a bus stand in the town when around 200 people surrounded them and thrashed them.
"We got calls saying that the two looked suspicious and that is why the villagers attacked them. The police were informed only after the attack took place," said Arul, Head Constable of the Gangavalli police station.
The two suffered serious injuries and were initially admitted to the Attur hospital. The lady was later admitted to the Salem General Hospital.
"The four persons have been charged under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 294(b) (uttering obscene words in public), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. They are currently in remand now and have been sent to the Attur court," said Arul.
According to the police, the fake WhatsApp messages that had been doing the rounds for over a month now, and have resulted in several instances of mob lynching in different districts, have not abated.
"People are on edge and always suspicious because of these messages. That is why such incidents happen. Everyday we are hearing of something like this or the other. We have even been instructed by the government to put up notices and boards announcing that the messages are fake. People have been instructed to report 'suspicious' persons to the police or village officer or Tahsildar. They are being told that strict action will be taken if they try to take law into their hands. The police have also been advised to round all villagers up and educate them on these fake messages," said Arul.
The police has not yet been able to ascertain the identity of the duo attacked.
"They are too scared and have not been able to speak. Probably because they are scarred after the incident. Their condition however is improving. The man has been discharged now and the lady who is currently in Salem GH will also be discharged soon," Arul added.
Last month, another brutal incident of mob lynching of a 60-year-old woman Rukmani took place in Tiruvannamalai. The villagers, suspecting them to be child-lifters, surrounded the car in which Rukmani and some of her family members were traveling, in search of their family god in a village near Tiruvannamali. The mob pulled them out of the car and beat them up, fearing that they were here to kidnap children.