Police create awareness against rumours of child kidnappings in Belagavi

Hundreds of officers and staff visit villages and towns

September 17, 2022 08:54 pm | Updated 08:54 pm IST - Belagavi

Police officers visit villages to inform people that rumours on kidnapping of children in Belagavi is fake.

Police officers visit villages to inform people that rumours on kidnapping of children in Belagavi is fake. | Photo Credit: P.K. BADIGER

A lady police officer speaking to a crowd at a village marketplace in Nippani to create awareness among the villagers.

A lady police officer speaking to a crowd at a village marketplace in Nippani to create awareness among the villagers. | Photo Credit: P.K. BADIGER

Teams of police officers toured villages and towns across Belagavi district to spread awareness against rumours of kidnapping children.

Hundreds of officers and staff are visiting villages to tell residents not to get worried over such rumours. They are holding meetings of groups and telling the people that there is no need to panic as there have not been any instances of kidnapping a child anywhere in the district.

They are also speaking about the problems created by sharing of unverified images and videos.

Officers have organised 1,497 events in 1,266 villages in two days. The events will continue for a few days more.

They have also tied up with the zilla panchayat that helped them employ village heralders. Village panchayat members and officers are organising meetings in temples, schools, community halls and police stations. School teachers have also joined the initiative.

“This is among the confidence building measures that we are taking,’’ said Sanjiv Patil, SP. “We don’t want people taking the law in their own hands or create any problems,’’ he said.

This began after some incidents where villagers stopped, quarreled with or beaten up some persons suspecting them to be child kidnappers. In some cases, villagers took them to the nearest police station, seeking an inquiry.

Naga Sadhus in Kulgod near Gokak, street vendors in Kittur, mentally-ill person in Nandagad, and donation seekers in Sirasangi have suffered this fate.

What added to the problems is the circulation of images and videos, most of which are confirmed to be fake. They show images of some persons being beaten up or abused by people or police, with claims of being from towns or villages in Karnataka.

One of the videos is of group of people beating up Sadhus claimed to be near Sangli in Maharashtra, and abusing them of being child kidnappers was widely shared among border towns and villages. Two persons even beat the Sadhus with sticks. Altnews, a fact checking website has argued that it was an unrelated video from Madhya Pradesh.

Another video is an old one, and seems doctored. It shows a group of around 20 Sadhus arrested by UP police for being child kidnappers. The Sadhus were arrested by the police, but the charges were different, according to the fact checking website.

In 2017, an irate mob killed a young engineer from Hyderabad and injured three of his friends after suspecting they were child lifters near Handikera in Bidar district.

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