Childline staff attacked as rumours continue to fuel mob fury in Bihar


A group of men working in Bihar’s Darbhanga for Childline, a telephone hotline meant for helping children in distress, was on Friday attacked by a mob on suspicion of being child lifers, the police said.

According to the police, Childline employees Raghav Thakur, Nilesh Kumar Karn, constable Gopal Ram and driver Daya Jha were attacked when they reached Koriahi village in Sitamarhi district to verify the address of one of the three children they brought from a Darbhanga-based shelter home. The mob also damaged their vehicle.

During the address verification process, the officials took help of a local boy to locate the house of the child. Some villagers thought they were child-lifters and started thrashing them, the police said.

A police team led by sub-inspector Dasrath Prasad Singh reached the spot to rescue the Childline employees and was initially attacked by villagers .

“An additional police force is camping in the village and the situation is normal,” said Sitamarhi superintendent of police Anil Kumar. He also urged the Childline team to keep the police informed when they travel with children. The injured men were treated at a t local primary health centre .

Several mob attacks have taken place in Bihar on people suspected to be child lifters. As many as 14 people have been lynched by mobs across the state in the past two-and-a-half months, but none of them proved to be a real child abductor, the police claimed.

“We have found that none of those killed in mob violence was a child abductor. The police headquarters is reviewing the situation on a regular basis,” said additional director general (ADG) of police (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar on Friday.

Bihar police have filed first information reports (FIRs) against 348 people in connection with these incidents. The ADG said 278 suspects have been arrested in 39 cases of mob lynching in the state so far.

Apart from the deaths, at least 14 people have been injured in attacks by locals over such rumours, police said.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar is set to review the situation in the next few days, according to officials.

State police headquarters has asked people not to spread rumours, and keep away from mob violence, warning them of serious consequences under law. Separate teams from the police and district administrations have also launched campaigns to sensitise people through audio/video clips and posters, besides making them aware that mob attacks were a cognisable offence.

“The police will deal with those spreading rumours sternly. Those seen involved in incidents of mob justice will not spared,” said a second senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

Bihar police drive to stop mob violence


The Bihar police have launched a massive drive on social media and are conducting awareness programmes appealing to people to stay away from mob violence which has taken eight lives in the past two-weeks, mostly in Patna district. Over two dozen cases have reportedly been triggered by rumours of child lifting in past one month.

On Saturday, a man was beaten to death by a violent mob in Mohammadpur village under the Naubatpur police station in Patna district. The lynching took place on rumour that the man was a child lifter.

“As many as 43 people have been named and 150 are unidentified in the FIR…we have arrested 23 of those involved in the incident,” the officer-in-charge of the Naubatpur police station, Samrat Deepak Kumar, said.

He added that the local police have been appealing to people, while making announcement on loudspeakers, not to believe in such rumours.

Earlier, on August 3, two such incidents of mob violence took place in Rupaspur and Dhanarua villages.

Alarmed with the rising trends of mob violence over child-lifting rumours, the police headquarters has instructed all district police superintendents to launch a drive against such incidents and make people aware through social media and public interaction not to believe rumours.

‘Don’t believe rumours’

Patna Senior Superintended of Police Garima Mallik held public meetings in different locations in the capital and appealed to the people not to fall prey to such rumours. The Patna District Magistrate, Kumar Ravi, too has expressed concern over such incidents and asked people to remain vigilant about such rumour mongering.

In most of the incidents, the victims have been from weaker section of society. Apart from Patna, such incidents of mob lynching have also been reported from Kaimur and East Champaran districts. In Patna district, incidents of mob lynching were mainly reported from Sadisopur, Neora, Maner, Rupaspur, Fatuha and Naubatpur.

“Special drives have been launched to sensitise people against such rumours…special patrolling of police personnel too have been initiated in such rumour-prone areas”, State Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey told media persons on Saturday.

In 2018 as many as 19 incidents of mob lynching were reported from the State while in 2017 and 2016 the number of such incidents were 13 and 7 respectively.

Fear of Mob-Lynching Continues to Haunt Bihar


Patna: With incidents of mob violence rising during the last four days, the fear of mob-lynching has once again come to haunt Bihar. Over two dozen people, mostly the poorest of the poor, have been attacked and badly beaten up by mobs and at least two were lynched on suspicion of being child lifters in the state.

Mobs also attacked, thrashed and punished over half a dozen people in different places across the state on various charges, such as harassing girls and allegedly stealing mobile phones and other items.

The rise in such incidents is giving sleepless nights to top brass of the Bihar police. Taking serious note of the continuing mob violence, the police has so far arrested more than 40 accused and has appealed to people not to take law into their hands on the basis of mere suspicion or rumours.

Rumours have been spread about of child-lifters in Patna and other places and mostly the poor, such as beggars, vendors and physically challenged people have become the victims of mob violence.

At least two mentally-challenged middle-aged people were beaten to death and over a dozen injured in separate incidents of mob violence in Patna district alone in last two days. A man was lynched on Saturday night by a mob in Chulhaichak under Rupaspur police station and another man was beaten to death on Sunday by a mob at Kalichak village under Dhanarua police station. Both were lynched by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters.

Both the victims have not been identified by police so far.

Patna police officials admitted that more than one dozen incidents of mob violence have been reported in Patna in the past three days. “All the mob violence incidents are results of rumours about child lifters. Police have been trying to counter these baseless rumours to check and control mob violence” Patna senior superintendent of police Garima Malik said.

Malik told NewsClick that as most of the mob violence on the basis of rumours of child-lifters was being reported from rural areas near Patna, police have been asked to be on alert in  Danapur, Maner, Masaurih, Naubatpur and Punpun.

A senior police blamed social media for the spurt in rumours and resultant mob violence.

Since last Thursday, more than 20 cases of mob violence reported in Bihar. In some cases, mobs even attacked police teams that tried to rescue the victims.

On Saturday, two Sikh men from Haryana were badly beaten up by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters in Patna, before they were rescued by the police. Similarly, two youths were badly thrashed by a mob in Danapur near Patna on Saturday on similar suspicions.

Three beggars including two woman were thrashed on Sunday by a mob near Neema railway halt in Patna on suspicion of being child lifters. Timely arrival police saved them from being lynched by a mob of 200 villagers armed with traditional bamboo sticks.

An auto-rickshaw driver in heart of Patna was beaten by a mob on Sunday after some women raised alarm of suspected child lifter.

A youth was thrashed on Sunday evening by a mob in a village near Bodh Gaya in Gaya district for his alleged involvement in kidney racket. But police managed to rescue him. 

In another case, two minors were beaten up, their heads tonsured and faces blackened by a mob in a village in Saharsa district on last Thursday for alleged harassment of girls.

The rise in the number of mob violence incidents started after July 20 in Saran district, when three suspected cattle thieves were beaten to death in a village by a mob consisting of mostly youths.

The rise in mob lynching incidents have come as an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who claims to have brought ‘sushasan’ or good governance to Bihar. Especially, in rural Bihar, incidence of ‘mob justice’ have become common.

The failure on the part of the state government to punish people involved in street justice or mob rule is being seen as the main reason for encouraging people to deliver instant justice without fear.

Bihar assembly sees uproar as 5 lynched in 4 days


Five people were killed in a spate of mob lynchings in four days in Bihar. Recently, there has been a rise in cases of mob violence in the state, raising questions about law and order. The latest incidents were reported from Chhapra and Vaishali districts.

The first incident took place on Thursday, July 18 in Chhapra when enraged villagers beat three thieves to death. Apparently, all three were known for stealing cattle from the villagers. The father of one of the victims has demanded rigorous punishment for the accused. The police have taken cognisance of the matter and taken eight people in custody.

Subsequently, three incidents took place on Friday, July 19, in Vaishali and Bhojpur. In two separate incidents in Vaishali, villagers brutally thrashed a robber while he was trying to flee after looting a bank.

Another incident happened on Sunday, July 21, when a mob of angry villagers attacked and killed a youth. According to the villagers, the young man was punished for murdering a girl. The situation in all these villages remained tense as on Monday.

Meanwhile, the opposition attacked the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government over the “deteriorating” law and order in the state. Leaders belonging to RJD demanded an answer from the government, while BJP legislator Jeevesh Mishra said, “The people of Bihar are taking law in their hands out of frustration. However, this is not right. They should hand over the accused to the police.” He also said that the state will have to take necessary steps.

Jharkhand mob violence: Internet shut, police deployed in tense Meerut days after lathi-charge


Internet services were shut on Friday as Meerut remained under heavy police deployment amid tension, days after a police lathi-charge on a group of people assembled at Indira Chowk in the city to protest against the mob violence in Jharkhand last month which led to the victim’s death four days later.

More than 50 people have been arrested so far in connection with the protest.

Badar Ali, who allegedly led the protests, was arrested on Thursday from near a mall in Meerut. The police will initiate proceedings under the National Security Act (NSA) against him; his properties will be seized, officers said.

Meerut SSP Ajay Sahni said: “Police patrolling is on since 6 am and the deployment was made as a precautionary measure. Internet services were shut since rumors of a Bharat Bandh were afloat. Members of the community concerned have claimed that they are not supporting the bandh and things have returned to normalcy.”

The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 352 (assault), 336 (act endangering life personal safety), among others.

Meerut police personnel, along with members of Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary, were deployed in areas around Indira Chowk. A flag march was conducted by senior police officials, including Meerut zone ADG.

Since Sunday, local residents said, fewer people have ventured out of their homes.

Noor Hassan, who runs a welding shop near Indira Chowk, said: “It was supposed to be a peaceful march. Yes, there was no permission, but the police action made it worse. Now that Internet has been shut down and there is heavy police presence, people fear something might happen. Most people are not leaving home.”

On Sunday, a group of people led by Badar Ali congregated at Faiz-e-Aam Inter College and were supposed to conduct a 2-km march up to Hapur Adda to protest the death of Tabrez Ansari, who was beaten up by a mob in a Jharkhand village and allegedly asked to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. He succumbed later.

According to the police, the group did not have permission for the gathering. Following arguments, the police said they had to do a lathi-charge to maintain law and order. No serious injuries were reported.