The relatives of victims mourn the deaths in Dhule.
Mumbai: Twenty-three people have been arrested after five men were locked in a room and beaten to death in Maharashtra's Dhule on Sunday, over rumours that they were kidnappers out to get children. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called the incident "unfortunate". The Rainpada village where the killings took place, was mostly deserted today as the police hunted for those who participated in the mob attack. The killing in Maharashtra follows a disturbing pattern of attacks triggered by rumours in many states.
Here are 10 updates after five people were killed by a mob in Dhule:
All the accused arrested till now are in their twenties, the police say. To catch more of the attackers seen in a mobile video clip, the police have formed five teams.
"The incident is unfortunate. We have already begun investigation in the matter... the state government has decided to give Rs 5 lakh as compensation to victims' families," Mr Fadnavis told news agency ANI.
The families of the victims on Monday staged a sit-in protest demanding police action against the people involved and refused to accept their bodies.
Those killed were from the Gosavi tribe, a nomadic community that goes from door to door begging for food. A group had arrived from Solapur in a state transport bus on Sunday morning and set up their tents at Pimpalner. Seven of the men then walked to the Rainpada village, about 140 km from Dhule town, to beg for food.
They had been told by a bus employee that they would find a weekly Sunday market there. The group reportedly went to a house to ask for food and one of them tried to speak to a child when villagers spotted them and attacked them.
According to the police, rumours of a gang of "child-lifters" circulating on WhatsApp had travelled across the village by word-of-mouth and the sight of strangers provoked the villagers.
The "outsiders" were rounded up and locked up in the one-room office of the Panchayat or village council while the elders decided what to do. The situation went out of hand within seconds, as a large group of villagers broke open the door and started hitting the five men with whatever they had - stones, bricks, rods, slippers. Gruesome images on social media show the men on the floor, lifeless, blood pooled around them and splattered on the walls.
Today, another incident was reported from Malegaon, also in Maharashtra, but the police were able to rescue those who were attacked. A family of five was attacked by a mob, again over kidnapping rumours.
Similar mob attacks have been reported in Assam and Tripura. In Assam's Guwahati, a woman with special needs was tied to a pole and tortured by a village mob. They, too, suspected her to be a kidnapper, police said.
A hawker from Uttar Pradesh was beaten to death by a mob in Tripura on Thursday on the suspicion that he and two others were at the village near state capital Agartala to kidnap children. The same day, another mob in south Tripura killed a 33-year-old, who, incidentally, was spreading awareness against rumours about child kidnappers. Last month, two friends who had gone to the Kangthilangso waterfalls in Assam's Karbi Anglong, were also beaten to death over rumours.