Forwarding a message over WhatsApp or sharing a post on Facebook, without judging its clarity, is not at all a tough job. But the after-effects of that false news going round over several social media platforms can be really vicious.

Recently a huge number of such incidents came to notice, where innocent people got victimized as commoners suspected them as child abductors. On Monday, barely a day after director general of police (DGP) RP Sharma explained not to trust on rumours, to the villagers of Pukali village in Odisha’s Koraput district, they set a vehicle to fire and assaulted two people as they believed that those people used to whisk children away.

Another similar incident took place in Aska block in Ganjam. Where two people got assaulted by a mob on suspicion of child abduction.

There are no such gangs, and no cases of child theft have been reported anywhere. These are pure rumours. If you suspect anybody, inform the police instead of resorting to vigilantism,” DGP Sharma stated to the Hindustan Times.

This was not the first time that fake news was creating chaos. A few days ago a hoax news regarding a child abduction gang got circulated over WhatsApp in Visakhapatnam, that resulted in taking an innocent person’s life and five other people were admitted to hospital as a mob lynched on them, suspecting child abductors.

Cuttack’s social worker Bhabani Kumar tweeted to Odisha police regarding this matter. As the matter came into notice, Gajapati SP retweeted to his tweet and confirmed that it was a hoax news.

Bhabani Kumar’s tweet reads; “Sir this photo is circulating all over social media. It says Srikakulum police has issued high alerts in Gajapati that some people from Bihar are roaming on streets of Gajapati dressed as beggars and are killing people. Is this true?

Gajapati SP retweeted a video. The statement made in the video was, “No case of any child missing or being kidnapped is reported to us from anywhere in the district till now. The city is under our surveillance and we are patrolling day and night. Our agents allotted at bus stands, railway stations several locations of roadways are keenly observing for any suspicious movement. People should not get frightened seeing the viral video and should not at all take law into hands. If they suspect anyone of any nuisance, they must report the same to the police instead of assaulting the person under suspicion. We would take immediate action and try to establish the true identity of the person.

A written notice issued by the Rayagada police, shared by Prashant Kumar Mohanta reads; “Thus the general public of Rayagada district is being informed that there is no truth behind the news of child kidnapping and murders in some part of the Rayagada city spreading all over social media. This is just a rumour and totally baseless. If you suspect any person, inform the nearest police station immediately. Police shall take necessary action. Don’t beat or assault any unknown person or suspect. Strict actions shall be taken against people taking law in hands. We appeal to the public once again to refrain from falling for fake news and inform police if they notice anything suspicious. Rayagada police at your service.”

Ananta Mohanty retweeted; “This news is seen only on social media and its authenticity is still arousing questions in the minds of people.”

It is strange that people, without any proof, just only based on suspicion getting vicious and innocent people are getting victimized. Most of these cases are happening because people are passing and sharing hoax news without any kind of verification. They should keep in mind that a little step taken by them can result in such a great deal.

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