Three people were thrashed on the suspicion of child lifting in separate incidents in parts of Uttar Pradesh, police said on Tuesday.
In one of the incidents at a Bahraich village, an angry mob thrashed a 25-year-old man, tried to take him hostage and hurled brickbats at a police party that had gone to rescue the victim following rumours of child lifting.
The incident took place Monday night when Balak Ram, in an inebriated condition, lost his way to his house in the adjoining village and was taken for a child lifter, SP Gaurav Grover said.
The police team reached the spot and rescued the man.
When the police party was returning after rescuing him, the mob hurled brickbats at it, the SP said, adding that they also tried to capture the victim.
Three policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured, the SP said.
An attempt was also made to spread rumours linking the incident through social media but police found no truth in it following inquiry.
A case had been registered and 21 people have been arrested so far while efforts were on to identify others in the video of the incident, the SP said.
In another incident, labourer Shiv Kumar Yadav was beaten up at Beraspur village and was handed over police, SP Ram Badan Singh said.
In a similar incident, one Babbu Singh was beaten up at Sarai Jagdish when he tried to drag a seven year-old-girl, the SP said.
Police immediately rushed to the spot and managed to rescue Babbu Singh, who was admitted to a hospital for treatment.
The SP said Shiv Yadav was a labourer, who was going to another village, while Babbu Singh was of unsound mind.
The SP has appealed to people not to pay any heed to rumours and hand over any suspicious person to police, instead of taking the law in their hands.