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Dhule: Five lynched on suspicion of being child-lifters, 15 held
04 July 2018, 01:12 | Tara Lloyd
5 men killed by mob in Maharashtra on suspicion of being child kidnappers
Mumbai: In a horrific incident of mob violence, five persons were lynched in a tribal hamlet, Rainpada village in Sakri taluka of Maharashtra's Dhule, over 300 km from the state capital, Mumbai. One of them reportedly spoke to a young girl nearby.
An incited crowd killed the five villagers after a rumor circulating on Whatsapp fueled speculation that they were child kidnappers, according to The Associated Press and local media reports. Raju was from Karnataka and the others were residents of Mangalwedha in Solapur district. The men, members of a nomadic community according to The Hindustan Times, were suspected of being child kidnappers.
The number of people on the street in Rainpada was exceptionally high, as they had gathered for the weekly bazaar.
They said that people from this community often pass though villages begging and they had been doing that when they were attacked.
Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar reportedly visited the village where the lynchings took place, telling The Hindu: "I appeal to everybody not to believe in posts circulated over social media". The video shows a huge crowd dragging a few people and punching and beating them with sticks. Numerous attacks have targeted strangers in remote communities, including people from another region or who speak a different language from the mob.
Despite attempts by the police to counter them, incidents of lynchings resulting from such rumours continue.
Police said they identified the alleged attackers from a video shot during the assault.
In another incident in Maharashtra, a family of five were attacked by a mob at Malegaon in Nashik District.
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At 8 pm on Sunday, another police naik (constable) Dharmendra Sonawane told The Wire that the police is yet to register an FIR in the case. By 12:10 pm a team of 10 policemen was sent to the spot.
By the time the police reached, five lifeless bodies were lying in front of the panchayat office.
He said that in recent weeks there have been several such incidents across Maharashtra including Aurangabad, and in Jalna where the local BJP legislator was involved in a similar attack on some persons. All have been booked under Section 302 (murder) and the sections pertaining to rioting of the IPC. "We believe that had gone to Dhule for the same objective when they were attacked", said an officer from Mangalwedha police station in Solapur.
The police have imposed a curfew in the village as the situation remains tense and additional police forces have also been deployed.
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