There have been 12 incidents of mob lynching across Bihar in the last 15 days, Additional Director General of Patna Police Jitendra Kumar told ANI on Wednesday. “Public shouldn’t take law in their hands,” said Kumar, adding that the Patna Police have organised a special drive across the state to spread awareness among people to not believe in rumours.
Two lynchings were reported from Rupaspur and Dhanarua in Patna district on Saturday night, according to The Times of India. As many as 32 people have been arrested in the Rupaspur case and two in the Dhanarua one.
“Specific instructions were given after Supreme Court had taken up the mob lynching issue and had directed state governments to act accordingly for preventing such violence,” Kumar said. “But after some recent incidents of thrashing over rumours, officials were directed to take steps by roping in public representatives.”
The Patna Police have begun conducting public events from Monday, Kumar said. He added that the police have been asked to pass on a message through village mukhiyas, sarpanches, and other representatives that nobody who indulges in rumour mongering will be spared.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Malik said that a police-public meeting was held at Kadamkuan on Monday. Another event was held at Danapur bus stand in Danapur Cantonment.
“The motive to organise the programme at Danapur bus stand was that several people traverse through that point and words of police would reach locations were people would travel.” She said that the police also shared their phone numbers with members of the public.
Apart from Bihar, a spate of mob lynchings has claimed dozens of lives in Maharashtra, Tripura, Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Karnataka since March. In nearly all cases, the mobs seem to have been incited by widely shared WhatsApp videos and messages asking people to beware of child kidnappers. The victims have ranged from innocent people asking for directions; transgendered people; the poor; and the mentally challenged.