With no arrest made yet in the lynching cases, pitched battles were seen on Saturday in Muslim-dominated areas of Jamshedpur between protesters and police. Several tribal leaders conceded the people were guarding the villages with bows, arrows and Lathis.
Additional DGP of Jharkhand Police RK Mallik on Saturday said the police had identified the culprits who had killed altogether eight persons in separate incidents of lynching following rumours of child lifting in Rajnagar and Bagbera on Thursday last.
People in three villages have reportedly lynched 6 suspected child lifters in Jharkhand.
Unfortunately, the police have remained a mere spectator and have refrained it from taking against the large crowd of the villagers in all these incidents Upon intervention in many occasions, they have also faced the anger of the villagers as many policemen have sustained injuries and their vehicles have also been set on fire.
Telegraph reported that the group of four traders were on their way from Haldipokhar last night to Rajnagar to buy cattle at a local market when a mob, enraged at rumours of "child lifting", intercepted their vehicle at Shobhapur village in Rajnagar block. Though the victims are Muslims, the report quoted Kolhan DIG Prabhat Kumar as saying that the incident was not communal in nature.
Mr Prashant Anand, police superintendent in the state's main city of Jamshedpur, said locals in two neighbouring districts attacked "any outsider irrespective of his community" after baseless rumours spread on WhatsApp and social media. "I also think public representatives like us should play a role, and I am going house to house talking to people". The messages even gave details of sedatives "seized from the child lifters", including injections, handkerchief etc used to administer them. Tribals are too gullible to such rumours owing to their lack of education. "At the same time, awareness is also being created".
He called the violence "the curse of the social media". But they lack maturity and believe whatever is circulated. "They were so real", says Ramesh Murmu of Udada village.