Kannur district police chief Sanjay Gurudin has warned that strict action will be taken against those who manhandle people based on fake social media and WhatsApp messages that have been doing the rounds lately.
As many as five such cases have been reported from the district in the last two months.
Asianet News reports that Kannur police was alerted about fake messages claiming that children have been kidnapped that were being circulated through Facebook and WhatsApp. As a result, people got suspicious and starting targeting migrants around them which lead to manhandling and assault.
The report says that such messages also give clues about the kidnappers which are totally fake. ‚ÄúPeople just assume that the kid might have been kidnapped by a particular person, mostly migrants and attack them in masses. This is another crime similar to moral police attacks,‚ÄĚ the SP told Asianet News.
Last week, some migrants from North India who were selling curtains in an Onmi Van in Kannur Puthiyangadi were assaulted badly by the public based on the allegation that they had kidnapped a child. Their van was also destroyed. But the report says that the child was not kidnapped at all and it was just a fake news.
Another incident reported from Thalassery of Kannur district was that a gypsy couple who sold things in trains were caught and brutally beaten up by people who alleged they were kidnappers.
The report says that the couple‚Äôs photographs were put up in the social media saying they were child kidnappers. People then caught and assaulted them, but there were no kidnapping cases at all against them.
‚ÄúThe other day from Parassinikadavu, another child travelled to Dharmassala in someone‚Äôs two wheeler and a story spread that he was kidnapped. In a WhatsApp group, his photograph was put saying he was kidnapped, but actually he had gone for a festival in Parassini,‚ÄĚ Thaliparambu Circle Inspector Vinodh told Asianet.
Commissioner Sanjay said that people should inform the police if they have any suspicions and police will take all necessary steps. ‚ÄúInstead of informing us they assault people, that will not be allowed,‚ÄĚ he added.