India has witnessed a surge in incidents of mob lynching over social media rumours in the last few years.
Meanwhile, a recent report released by DGPs of all states on social media rumours, has revealed that as many as 29 cases of mob lynching took place due to fake news in the last four months. The shocking details emerged days after the Union Home Ministry sought a report from DGPs of all the states across India regarding the same.
According to sources, the Centre will also direct all the states to take strict actions aginst those who spread socially-sensitive fake news or videos on Facebook, WhatsApp or any other social media platform.
A social media policy to curb mob lynching over fake news is also in the pipelines, the sources added.
Talking about the recent incidents, at least five people in Maharashtra were beaten to death over suspicion that they were members of a gang of 'child lifters'. The incident took place at the tribal-dominated Rainpada hamlet, 25 km from Pimpalner in Dhule district.
All the deceased hailed from Solapur and belonged to a nomadic community. They had come in search of livelihood due to a drought-like situation in their district, police said.
So far, 23 people have been arrested and they were booked under IPC Section 302 (murder) and the sections pertaining to rioting.
In the wake of this horrific crime, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday assured strong action against the accused in Dhule lynching case adding that "People should not believe in rumours.
"The Dhule lynching case will be sent to fast track court," Fadnavis added.
People should not believe in rumours, we will take strict action against those who are behind them. The Dhule lynching case will be sent to fast track court: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis pic.twitter.com/MYyReR8MEm— ANI (@ANI) July 3, 2018
In June, the awful lynching of two Guwahati-based youths triggered a public protest, which turned violent with scores of agitated people shouting slogans like - "We want justice", "Karbi Anglong shame on you" and holding up placards.
Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath went to the picnic spot of Kangthilangso in Karbi Anglong and while returning, their vehicle was stopped at Panjuri. A group of angry villagers pulled them out and lynched them on the suspicion of being child lifters.
Both Das and Nath, according to a video circulated on social media, pleaded that they were not child lifters, but were visiting Karbi Anglong district.
Incidents of lynching were also reported from Aurangabad, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Nashik, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Latur, Gondia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra.