Mob attacks two families in Dhule and Malegaon over fake WhatsApp message

A group of fortune tellers who begged for alms were murdered by a mob on the suspicion of being ‘child-lifters.’ A family of five, including a two-year-old child, was attacked by a mob on the suspicion of being child abductors in Malegaon.

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Dhule: Lynching over fake WhatsApp messages claimed five more lives on Sunday in Dhule, Maharashtra. A group of fortune tellers who begged for alms were murdered by a mob on the suspicion of being ‘child-lifters.’
“Bharat Shankar Bhosale (45); his brother, Dadarao Shankar Bhosale; Raju Bhosale; and Bharat Malwe (47), all hailing from Khave village in Solapur’s Mangalvedhe tehsil, and Anagu Ingole from Manewadi village in Mangalvedhe, were bludgeoned to death by a mob in Sakri tehsil on the suspicion of them being child-lifters. All belonged to a nomadic community that derived sustenance by begging for alms,” reported The Hindu.
The vigilantes have run away from their homes in Reinpada to the forest and the victims’ family have refused to accept their bodies until the killers are brought to justice. “We are camping in this area for last three months and earning our livelihood by telling the fortune and begging. Our people demanded mercy still they were beaten to death. We demand the high-level inquiry in this entire incident,” said a relative of one of the victims in a report by DNA.
“No government authority has come to meet us since the incident. We demand justice and compensation for our loved ones. We further demand a case of homicide be lodged against the sarpanch of Rainpada,” said Santosh Bhosale, son of Dadarao Shankar Bhosale, in the report by The Hindu.
23 people were arrested on Monday. “The mob that attacked them reportedly comprised over 35 people, including some children. Police said the five victims, along with a few others, were seen getting down from a state transport bus. When one of them apparently tried to speak to a girl child, the villagers, who had gathered for the weekly Sunday market, pounced on them. “The accused hail from a tribal village where WhatsApp posts pertaining to child kidnappers had gone viral. Based on the posts, the mob suspected the victims to be child lifters and thrashed them to death,” M Ramkumar, Superintendent of Police, Dhule, told The Indian Express.
He also said that the nomads could not communicate with the villagers in their local language Ahirani. “The language was the main issue. These nomads spoke Marathi. The villagers thought that these people are from different locations and had come to kidnap their children,” Ramkumar said in a report by DNA.
Narrating this incident; local journalist Rajendra Khairnar told DNA that these fortune teller beggars roam the villages in search of livelihood. “Sunday was a weekly market day. These nomads had come to Reinpada. While parking their vehicle, one village girl threw a stone in their vehicle. One of the deceased shouted and warned the girl. Despite this, the girl continued to throw stones. So, one of them shouted again and to shoo her away he ran after her. The same girl shouted in the crowded market by saying that a thief had come. Hearing her screams, the crowd gathered and took hold of these nomads and started hitting them. Other people also joined them and murdered them on the suspicion of child lifting,” said Khairnar.
More lynched in Malegaon 
“Less than 12 hours after five people were lynched in Maharashtra’s Dhule district over child-lifting rumours, a family of five, including a two-year-old child, was attacked by a mob on Sunday, on the suspicion of being child abductors in Malegaon. The victims, who hailed from Parbhani district in Maharashtra, were, however, rescued by the police, which had to resort to lathi charge to control the situation. The mob also ransacked the police van. Later, a case was charged against the mob for rioting and obstructing police to perform their duty,” reported The Indian Express.
Over 29 people have been killed over fake WhatsApp rumours since May last year.



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