Arrests after India mob lynches man over WhatsApp child abduction rumour

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When the men tried to flee, their auto jumped into a gorge, causing the death of one among them.

This was the third such incident in the state.

When the other three persons managed to escape from the village, the local persons passed on a video to the residents of another village.

The group was invited by Mohammed Bashir, a native of Handikera who worked in Hyderabad, to his home and they were travelling to Handikera in a vehicle when they stopped for some refreshments at a shop near Balkut Tanda. Bashir had invited them to his native village. In one such incident which happened at Aurad taluk in the district, three persons who were on a visit to a friend's home were chased by villagers.

Police said Azam and his companions were returning to neighbouring Hyderabad city after visiting their friend in Bidar when they stopped midway and offered chocolates to local children.

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The residents reportedly thought that they were child abductors and began assaulting them even though Bashir tried to explain the situation to them. The villagers blocked the road with a tree.

"Over 400 people gathered, and they pulled the four men out of the auto and began beating them with wooden sticks". When the police arrived, they were outnumbered by the mob. They could finally extricate them.

The family members of Mohd Azam, who was killed in a mob attack in Bidar, on Saturday demanded that the state government intervene and take up their case with the Karnataka government. Though the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) does not specifically track lynchings, the incidence of mob killings and vigilantism has been on the rise.

A more recent incident is from 1 July when five men were killed in a similar incident in Maharashtra's Dhule, where the police have said that the Whatsapp forwards that incited the attack were manipulated. According to reports, the video was made in Karachi, Pakistan, and was meant to be a promotional video on child safety. Mr Murugan appealed to people not to believe social media rumours. While they were buying some snacks, the locals present in the area mistook them as child lifters and started assaulting them.

The techie, Mohammad Azam, had gone for a drive on Friday with three others when they were stopped at the roadside.

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