As mercury is dropping, the Uttar Pradesh government headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has started preparations to deal with the possible cold wave conditions and provide a protection cover to the destitute, helpless and vulnerable people.
The Uttar Pradesh police has held five people in Sambhal after a man was lynched and another was seriously injured on suspicions of being child lifters.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Abhishek Yadav, the arrests were made on Tuesday evening and the accused were identified as, Bindu Raj and Gautam Singh of Madheda village, Chand of Kaserva village, Amit and Sonu of Sadruddin Nagar. The accused allegedly dialled the Police Control Room, informing about a fake news of child theft, the officer said.
After mob lynching in the name of cow slaughter, it is rumours of child lifting that are fueling similar incidents in Uttar Pradesh, where over 20 such cases have been reported during the past three days.
In the latest incident in Sambhal, a man suspected of being a child lifter, was thrashed to death by a mob on Tuesday. According to reports, two brothers had taken their nephew to a doctor for treatment when a mob, suspecting them to be child-lifters, caught hold of them. Both were dragged to a field, where they were ruthlessly beaten.
On getting the information, police rushed to the spot and rescued the brothers, one of whom was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Five persons were arrested for assaulting the duo.
Four other incidents came to light in Shamli, Bulandshahr, and Hapur on Tuesday.
According to Station House Officer (SHO) Yashpal Dhama, five women from Gujarat were allegedly beaten up by the accused over suspected child theft in Shamli. A police team reached the spot and rescued the women, the officer said, adding that a case was lodged against the four accused.
Similarly, in Bulandshahr, a mentally challenged man was beaten up by a mob on the same suspicion. In Hapur, a woman had to face the mob’s wrath after being mistaken for a child lifter.
In Bareilly, on Monday, a mentally challenged man was punched, kicked and slapped for over an hour just because he had snatched a Rs10 note from the hands of a child in the market place as he was hungry for days. Even the cops, who tried to intervene, were beaten up and chased away by the angry mob.
Additional forces had to be called in to control the situation and the victim has been hospitalised.
Earlier in Lakhimpur Kheri last week, three cops of Haryana police, in plain clothes, were suddenly surrounded by a mob as they were mistaken for being child-lifters. They were later rescued by the local police. Senior police officials attribute these incidents to rumours being spread through the social media.
In some districts where such incidents have taken place, authorities are making public announcements to assure people of the presence of police all the time and that no child lifting gang was active in the area.
I-G Meerut zone, Alok Singh has even issued an advisory against rumour-mongering over child lifting that led to mob violence in various districts. The police advisory said that strict action would be taken against those found indulging in violence. They would be identified from the videos of violence circulating on the social media and CCTV footage.
DGO OP Singh said the police had increased patrolling to avert such incidents and a strict vigil was also being maintained on the social media to check rumours that lead to mob lynching. “We are also strict about identifying persons involved in such incidents and punitive action will be taken against them,” he said.