Thursday, September 21, 2023

Lynching incidents: Police nab two youths for spreading rumours on WhatsApp

Himalayan Paths

Jamshedpur : Nailing rumour mongers involved in spreading false information on child-lifting on WhatsApp, the police on Wednesday arrested two persons for allegedly spreading false messages. The information led to the lynching of four persons under Rajnagar thana area in adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district and three persons at Nagadih under Bagbera thana area on May 18.

Those arrested were identified as Saurabh Kumar (28) and Shankar Gupta (32), both residents of Jadugora. The third accused Sushil Agrawal (45) , who is also alleged to have played a leading role in spreading rumour about the child-lifting gang, is absconding.

Police have also seized two cell phones belonging to the arrested persons. Both Saraubh and Shankar were active in a WhatsApp Group “News Raftar Jharkhand.” and also contributed for some Hindi vernacular daily of Jamshedpur.

Sushil, on the other hand, is a former correspondent of a Hindi daily and runs small hotel in Jadugora. He was also active in “News Raftar Jharkhand.”

Senior superintendent of police Anoop T Mathew said that the police are trying to nail those involved in spreading rumours. A news regarding fatal assault of a 40-year-old man by a mob of villagers on suspicion of being child lifters at Jadugora in the night of May 10 was covered in a section of local vernacular dailies the next day.

“As per our probe, Saurabh, Sushil and Shankar played up the story and spread it through the social media. While Saurabh had posted the newspaper clipping in a flash way on Facebook and WhatsApp group, Shankar and Sushil had put the sensationalised version of the episode on the WhatsApp group, “News Raftar Jharkhand,.” he added.

As all the three were putting these incident through the social media repeatedly, people residing in the rural areas of the district and also in the adjoining district had become worried about so called child-lifter gang.

The senior SP said after the tragic incident at Nagadih, they had set up a special team comprising experts from the district police’s technical cell and, after scanning the messages on the WhatsApp and interrogation of the suspects, they traced out Saurabh and Shankar.

Significantly, the police had also interrogated the admin of “News Raftar Jharkhand,” Binod Keshri who runs as many as 40 WhatsApp groups, for getting information about how the rumours related to the child-lifters’ gang were circulated.
The SSP informed that both Saurabh and Shankar have been arrested in connection with a case registered under Sections 153 A (1) (C) and 505 of the IPC with the Bagbera thana. Section 153 A (1) (C) of the IPC is a non-bailable offence and carries a maximum of five years imprisonment if found guilty.

Meanwhile, Mathew informed that they have so far arrested 13 persons in the Nagadih lynching incident and 43 persons in the post-lynching violence which took place in Mango and Dhatkidih in Bistupur.

“We have started the process of `kurki-jabit’ (attachment of properties) against those who are absconding in both the cases,” said the senior SP.

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