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K’taka Mob Beats Sikh Man After ‘Child Abduction’ WhatsApp Texts

  • 29 May, 2018

A Sikh man was attacked by a group of 30-40 people who accused him of being a child abductor, in North Karnataka’s Kalburgi on 19 May. As well as thrashing him, the out-of-control mob removed his turban.

According to police, the trigger for the attack was the kirpan, a Sikh religious symbol, that the victim, Alvar Singh, was carrying.

Singh is the fourth known victim of mob attacks fuelled by WhatsApp forwards claiming child abductors are on the prowl in the state. On 23 May, a mob in Bengaluru had lynched a man from Rajasthan on suspicion that he was child abductor, once again because of a similar WhatsApp forward.

Alvar Singh, an earth mover driver, was stopped by the mob in a market in Kodla in Kalburgi district and was questioned why he was carrying a knife. Even though Singh tried to explain that he was carrying a kirpan (a religious symbol), he was attacked by the mob, who removed his turban and thrashed him mercilessly. Photos appear to show Singh with cuts on his head and no hair, however, police deny that he was tonsured

According to an official at Sedam police station, where an FIR has been registered, Singh had come to Kalburgi just three days before the attack after getting a job as a driver in a cement factory. 

The officer added that he suffered a head injury and is currently undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Kalburgi. “We have registered a case under section 326 of IPC (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and under other sections for rioting,” the officer added.

So far, no arrests have been made in the case, nor have the police identified any suspects.

Bengaluru Police have taken cognizance of the menace of false WhatsApp forwards, and tweet this warning to citizens:

A warning against such hoax WhatsApp messages was also one of the first announcements by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy after taking over. He had taken to Twitter on Saturday, asking people to be cautious of messages that talk of child abductors on the loose in Karnataka.

The Chief Minister's advice comes days after a 26-year-old Rajasthani laborer was lynched in Chamarajpet in Bengaluru. Kalu Ramu, a native of Rajasthan was attacked with the rods and cricket bats by a mob, alleging he was the child abductor. In the video shot on a mobile phone, a barely conscious Ramu was seen being dragged on the road by two boys.

A similar incident was reported in Anjanappa Garden, in Bengaluru, where a mob brutally assaulted two men – Manjunath and Rajkumar – alleging they were child abductors.

The police have clarified that the video circulating, claiming to be of child abductors on the job, was from Karachi and not from Karnataka.