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Fake news grips Bidar, lynch mob attacks 4 Hyderabadis, kills one

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BIDAR, 15 July 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: In a further indication that lynch mobs fuelled by fake Whatsapp messages were running amok, four young men, being chased by one such mob which believed them to be child-lifters, lived to tell the tale, due to the timely intervention of Bidar SP D. Devaraj on Friday night at Murki village (Bidar district) on Karnataka–Maharasthra border.

One of the victims, Ajam, 26, from Hyderabad, who faced the brunt of the attack, died on the spot. Police have arrested 32 people, including Manoj Kumar, 32, and Amar Patil, 40, of a WhatsApp group, in connection with the murder and assault. Kumar and Patil have been accused of spreading fake WhatsApp messages to people at Murki village via the Murki Mothers Group. 

The police said the quartet from Hyderabad were en route to Udagir town in neighbouring Maharashtra, and had stopped for lunch at Handikhera village in Humnabad taluk when they were allegedly spotted trying to “sweet-talk” some schoolgirls with chocolates at a roadside 'thanda'. This attracted the ire of aome local youth who started screaming that they were child-lifters. Fearing an attack, the Hyderabadis sped away in their red Swift Maruti car towards the Maharashtra border. 

But they found themselves blocked when they reached Murki village near Kamalanagar by local residents, who had placed boulders on the road, after  a message was sent on WhatsApp that a group of child-lifters was trying to escape in a red Swift car. While trying to avoid the boulders,  the car driver knocked down a motorbike rider. The car later hit the boulders and  overturned.  A big mob which had gathered by then, pelted the car with stones, preventing the quartet from coming out of the vehicle for more than an hour.  Local police led by PSI I Nanagouda intervened but failed to protect them. Some policemen were also injured in stone-throwing.  However, the arrival of SP Devaraj, who ordered a lathicharge, brought the situation under control.

Anjam's friends, who were injured in the attack, were treated at a local hospital, and sent to Hyderabad in an ambulance as per their request. Ajam’s body was handed over to his kin after an autopsy on Saturday. 

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