A mentally challenged woman was allegedly beaten to death on Saturday, by a mob at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, on suspicion of child-theft, after a WhatsApp message about child lifters was circulated by locals said the police.
Villagers in Morba told the police that the woman was seen in the area for the last six months. Around 14 people have been arrested for being involved in beating the woman to death and circulating messages on WhatsApp, said the police. The woman's mutilated body was found in the forest close to the spot on Sunday afternoon.
Investigators have identified villagers who were present at the spot, when the woman was attacked. They told the police that the locals caught the woman after "finding her movements suspicious", and reading a number of WhatsApp messages about child kidnappers, said the local police chief Riyaz Iqbal.
The police have found axes, sticks and stones from the crime scene and sent them for forensic tests, KS Dwivedi, senior officer told NDTV. The woman has not yet been identified. "We are trying to identify the victim and have circulated her picture to all the police stations," said Mr Iqbal.
In the same village, last month, two forest officers were rescued after a violent mob attacked them on suspicion of being child-lifters.
On July 18, a 32-year-old software engineer was tied and killed by a mob in Karnataka's Bidar. Mohammad Azam, a UK-educated Accenture employee, was beaten to death by villagers crazed with WhatsApp rumours of kidnappers. Azam and his three friends had driven down from Hyderabad for a day's picnic to the village in Bidar.
Mob killings have triggered massive outrage in the country and the Narendra Modi government at the centre, has been criticised for not being able to curb lynching. "The government has sent strong advisories to all state governments and the lynching issue has been taken up very seriously. No leniency in terms of action will be there, said junior home minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday.
After a series of mob killings, WhatsApp is launching a test to limit forwarding messages that will apply to all users. The government had sought curbs on spread of rumours that have led to many deaths. The move is likely to be a deterrent to mass forwarding of messages. Indians forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world, according to WhatsApp.
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