It’s not the first time we have come across reports about spam or fake messages spreading via messaging platforms like WhatsApp. While many times, these shared messages do not have any dire consequences, this time around, it led to riots in a small Jharkhand village resulting in the brutal lynching of seven villagers.
As per reports by leading media sites like NDTV, and Indian Express, the killings took place in two separate incidents in Singhbhum district. The first incident involved four individuals visiting the village. Fake Whatsapp forwards claimed that the four are actually child lifters, which incensed the locals and they decided to kill them to keep their children safe. When the four saw the enraged mob, they tried to flee but one of them was caught and killed. While the other three managed to escape, they were later caught, and met with the same fate.
In the second incident, four villagers with their grandmother were visiting for some construction work. They were in a car which was stopped and their ID was demanded. While one of them was able to produce his Aadhaar card, the others did not have the required ID proof on them. They were then dragged out of the car and beaten to death. The old grandmother too was not spared with wounds inflicted on her. ALSO READ: AIB’s new video tells us how the world would be if apps were people and it is hilarious!
The relatives of the dead as well as others in the region have called out to the cops for being inactive in the matter and not taking the required precautions. Family members in the first incident have refused to accept relatives bodies from the morgue and are mocking the government over the paltry sum of Rs 2 lakhs offered as compensation. They are demanding a minimum of Rs 25 lakh for each murdered man. ALSO READ: WhatsApp for Android now lets you pin chats, but do we really need the feature?
One of the person who survived the second incident has laid the blame on the police for being mere bystanders in the incident. The police remained inactive and the mob soon took over their jeep, setting it ablaze. There have been similar incidents in the past in the tribal region. The police have arrested 19 individuals believed to have begun the violence. However, they continue to try tracing the origin of the WhatsApp messages.
Officials are also sending out messages informing users to not believe fake rumors and being aware of the visitors in the village. There have been constant patrols along with loudspeaker announcements to inform those without access to technology.