Hours after five persons were bludgeoned to death by an irate mob in Dhule district, a similar incident transpired in neighbouring Nashik district where a family of five were attacked on suspicion of being child traffickers.
According to police, a mob of around 3000, fed on social media rumours about a child lifting gang, pounced upon the victims in the Azad Nagar locality in Nashik’s Malegaon district, 280 km from Pune, late on Sunday night.
The victims Gajanan Sahebrao Gire, his wife Sindhubai, their two-year-old child, Sindhubai’s sister Anusaya and another relative Yogesh – all hailing from Parbhani district - were ostensibly begging for money along Malegaon’s Ali Akbar Road area to pay for their return fare back home.
A crowd suspecting that they were child lifters, swooped upon them. In a bid to escape from the clutches of the mob, the five took shelter in a nearby building.
“At around 11 p.m. on Sunday, we got a call about some persons being assaulted by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters. The police immediately rushed to the scene and managed, with great effort, to pacify the restive mob,” said Harssh Poddar, IGP, Nashik Range.
The police, too, faced the brunt of the mob’s fury as the crowd began pelting stones on the security men, damaging a police vehicle in the process. An official told The Hindu that a case under sections 143, 147, 149 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been lodged against unidentified persons at the Azad Nagar police station. No arrests have yet been made in the case and further investigations are on.
Meanwhile, 23 persons have been taken into police custody in connection with the lynching of five persons in Dhule on Sunday.