The victims of WhatsApp rumour fuelled mobs in several states of south India are usually the most vulnerable in society. So far, a transgender woman has been killed in Telangana, and a man with mental health issues was stripped and assaulted by a mob, who suspected him of being part of ‘Pardhi gang’ – a “deadly interstate dacoit gang” according to WhatsApp forwards. And as it becomes increasingly clear that more vulnerable people may be targeted by mindless mobs, the Hyderabad police have decided to relocate homeless people and transgender persons in the state to ‘safer’ locations.
In fact, the police are now resorting to detaining these vulnerable people and admitting some them to shelter homes, and evicting others out of the city.
Taking serious view of the volatile situation, and acknowledging the threat to transgender persons and homeless people due to malicious rumours, South Zone police evicted all of them from the city.
Speaking to TNM, South Zone DCP V Satyanarayana said, “We have begun the task of rescuing all the homeless people, transgender persons and other vulnerable groups who are susceptible of being lynched. Several persons have been sent to shelter homes and the transgender women are sent off their native place.”
“The threat these people are facing is immense. This task is carried across the city,” he added.
Meanwhile, he also informed that they have detained 11 persons who lynched and killed a trans woman in Hyderabad on Saturday. “We have collected concrete evidence against the mob who took law into their own hands. We will identify the others too and take them into custody soon,” he said.
On Saturday night, in Chandrayangutta in Hyderabad, which falls under the South Zone of city police, a series of attacks against trans women who were begging in the locality were reported. In one brutal mob attack outside a function hall, one trans woman was killed and three others were grievously injured. The deceased was identified as a resident of Shamshabad.
When police reached the spot and tried to rescue the women, the mob attacked them too, and vandalised the police station for trying to shield ‘child abductors.’ However, police managed to rescue three of them and admit them at a private hospital for treatment.
In the incident, Uppuguda corporator, Fahad Bin Abdul Samed Bin Abdat was also injured when he tried to intervene. The corporator suffered injuries to his shoulder and knee.
The issue didn’t end there, a few members who were part of the mob later spotted three trans women in Kanchanbagh and attacked them. Fortunately, the police who were maintaining a high vigil, swiftly rescued them. Fearing their safety, police later sent them to their native place in a train.
In quick succession, at 1 am another incident took place under Madannapet police limits, after rumours that ‘kidnappers’ were on the prowl. With the timely intervention of the police all of the trans women could be saved.
Hyderabad Commissioner Anjani Kumar who had addressed the media, following the incident, directed the officials to increase patrolling during nights. He also instructed them to seek community participation in educating the masses on the misinformation being spread out. He directed the sector Sub-Inspectors to go around the localities and organise four to five meetings to create awareness.
The Commissioner further warned of strong action against people who spread hoax messages. “The messages are creating unrest in the mind of the public. A vested interest group has been spreading the rumours/false messages on WhatsApp. If anyone receives message please delete it, and do not spread it. We will trace the origin of the messages and slap cases against individuals who spread messages, and against WhatsApp group administrators. Let us not become the victims. If anyone has their own doubts on regarding the messages received on WhatsApp, please share with ACP or DCP level officer and clear your doubts,” he said.