“Arre, ye aatankvadi hain, maaro” , How the Fake News and Rumours took life of a young Techie

BIDAR: A frenzied mob which attacked a group of people who had come from Hyderabad on Friday last near Batkool Tanda in Kamala Nagar taluk, suspecting them to be child-lifters, repeatedly shouted, “Arre, ye aatankvadi hain, maaro” (They are terrorists, beat them up). One of them, Mohammad Azam Usmansab, was lynched by the mob while the others sustained serious injuries in the brutal attack.

Mohammed Afroz, Noor Mohammad, Mohammed Salman, Salam-Ed-Qureshi and Mohammad Azam Usmansab were squatting and having a chat near a check-dam when they saw children from the Murki government school walking back home. “We threw some chocolates at them for them to catch, the ones which we were eating. There were about 10-15 children and a woman.

The children refused to take the chocolates and left them lying on the ground. In about 15 minutes after this, a huge crowd approached us,” Afroz recalled. Upon coming to know their names, the mob shouted, “Arre, ye aatankvadi hain, unko maaro. Yeh hamare bacchon ko kidnap karne keliye aaye hain (These men have come here to abduct our kids)”, he said. Though some in the crowd heeded their pleas of innocence, the mob went berserk and attacked them, he added.Salam, Salman and Azam fled for life in the car but the crowd caught hold of Afroz and Noor.

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Immediately, people from Batkool tanda circulated a message on WhatsApp about the three who had escaped. By the time the trio could reach Murki village, hundreds of people from eight villages had gathered and blocked the car, causing it to plunge into a deep ditch. The mob pelted stones and rained blows on the victims, leading to the death of Azam.

Lakshman, a resident of Batkool tanda, said, “After the arrests and police investigation, we came to know that these are innocent people. But, when men sporting beards come and offer chocolate to children, it raises suspicions that they may be child lifters,” he argued.On Sunday, Aurad MLA Prabhu Chavan had hinted that the men from Hyderabad could be child-lifters.

Talking to The New Indian Express on Tuesday, Prabhu said, “These men were drinking liquor at Batkool. Moreover, they gave chocolates and made efforts to put some children into the car. After a small commotion at Batkool, three people escaped, but when some locals tried to stop them, they did not budge. At Murki too, they were not in a mood to stop, but due to over-speeding, the car plunged into a ditch and toppled. These series of mistakes gave rise to suspicion among the people.

Why should the strangers have ventured into Batkool and offer chocolates to children?” he questioned. However, the MLA’s claim was disputed by some locals. One of them, who did not want to be identified said the Hyderabad men were not drinking or having any food. “They were near the check dam talking and indulging in banter. They later gave some chocolate to schoolchildren who were passing by.”

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