More than 20 people have died in India because of Whatsapp rumours and we’ve lost the count on the number of people who’ve been injured due to the same.
A similar incident happened in Bidar, Karnataka where a 32-year-old engineer was beaten to death and the rest were injured over WhatsApp-driven rumours of child kidnapping.
According to the police, the mob frenzy started when the villagers saw one of them, the Qatar national distributing chocolates among the children.
Rumours of child lifting already prevailed in the area and seeing the chocolates being distributed, a sense of panic arose in the public and a message was sent on the WhatsApp group of a nearby village, Murki.
“Don’t allow these persons in (the) red car to escape. They are child kidnappers.’’
“Manoj Patil’s provocative message caused the lynching. Patil, a farmer who also does construction work, is the administrator of half-a-dozen WhatsApp groups. He sent this provocative message — that these men are child kidnappers and should not be spared — to WhatsApp groups in Murki and surrounding villages, which triggered the chase and the attack on the men. His message instigated the attack,’’ Dilip Sagar, Circle Police Inspector (CPI) of Kamalnagar Circle told The Indian Express.
Another case of mob lynching has been reported from Bidar district of Karnataka. 5 people travelling in a red colour SUV were mercilessly beaten by a mob of 40 to 50 villagers as they were being suspected as a child lifting gang.
(By @Pkhelkar)#ReporterDiary pic.twitter.com/3bLNJpLIKx
— India Today (@IndiaToday) July 15, 2018
With the message being forwarded, soon a lot of people gathered around them and seeing the tension, the four jumped off in their car and drove away.
With people trying to chase them down, their car hit with one of the motorcycles and fell into a trough.
The crowd dragged all of them out and started beating them up. With so many people around, nobody showed mercy or was of any help. When police arrived, Mohammad Azam was already dead and the rest were badly injured. They were then taken to a hospital in Hyderabad.
“They had gone out for a drive. My brother gave chocolates to children. We don’t know what their parents thought but several villagers gathered and beat them. How can they think they were kidnappers?” said Mohammad Azam’s brother Akram to NDTV.
“My brother was a software engineer, father of a 2-year-old. He was just a regular guy,” he added.
The other three were cousins and friends of Mr Azam, who were brutally beaten up and are badly injured. One of them is critical and fighting for his life in the hospital bed.
In total, 32 people have been arrested for the incident including the administrator of the Whatsapp group.
Azam, an employee at Accenture was working on a project at Google and was buried at a graveyard near his house. Salham Eid Al Kubasi, a Qatari national who was on a vacation to India, Noor Mohammed (30) and Mohammed Salman (20) were among the ones injured.
The family of Azam is seeking justice from the Telangana Government for proper investigation in the incident with the Karnataka Government.
“We are software engineers. Do we look like child lifters?”
“The guilty should be punished so that no other innocent loses his life in this manner,” Akram told National Herald.
This is not fair at all and nobody should go through this just because of false messages being forwarded on a platform where we don’t even know what’s true and what’s not. People are dying and what’s worse is people killing others and the reason being a message that nobody cross-checked. It is important for us to realize what we are reading, forwarding and what we are a part of. Someone lost their life and someone is fighting for it ’cause of a mob that reacted to something which was not even true.This is gruesome and being this irresponsible towards someone’s life, taking matters into their hands is not at all acceptable.