With incidents of hapless people, including women, being brutally beaten up on suspicion of being child lifters surfacing with alarming frequency across the state, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday decided to slap National Security Act (NSA) on those accused of mob violence and spreading rumours.
“The incidents of mob violence are being handled with utmost seriousness by the police. We are taking all measures and have decided to slap NSA on those spreading rumours or indulging in mob violence,” said director general of police OP Singh.
Singh said 90 arrests had been made in connection with these cases. “A total of 46 incidents were reported in which one person was killed and 29 injured. Police have filed 32 FIRs so far,” he said.
However, attacks continued on Wednesday too. In a case reported from a village in Gorakhpur on Wednesday, a mentally challenged person was mistaken for a child lifter and beaten up. He was admitted to a hospital by a team of Dial 100. In another incident in Ghaziabad, a middle-aged woman was thrashed by a mob on suspicion of being a child lifter. In a video that went viral, she was seen crying and requesting her attackers to leave her alone. “She is the grandmother of the child. Strict action will be taken,” said SP Niraj Kumar Jadaun on Tuesday.
In another incident on Wednesday, a health department team was attacked in Fatehpur. Members were detained for hours on suspicion of being child lifters. Three policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured while rescuing the team.
Police said unsubstantiated whatsapp messages about child lifting gangs being on the prowl were fuelling panic among people.