Villagers in Bidar dragged the men out of their car and beat them after WhatsApp rumours
Hyderabad: The rumour-driven crowd that targetted five men in Karnataka's Bidar on Friday, killing one of them and injuring two others, had even taken on the police when they arrived, says the First Information Report filed in the case. The men from Hyderabad, out on a picnic in the countryside, were seen offering chocolates to local children, raising suspicions of attempted child abduction -- rumours of which was already doing the round on WhatsApp. The crazed mob gave them chase, and after their car ran down a culvert, they rained stones on it, pulled out the men and beat them up. In their frenzy, they even attacked the police when they arrived.
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The man who died was Mohammad Azam, a 32-year-old techie. One of the others injured was Mohammad Azam's friend Mohammad Salman, who was from Qatar.
The First Information Report said several policemen sustained internal injuries after stones were thrown at them. The people had "stopped the police" from performing their duty, the FIR said.
Between 150 and 200 people had gathered at Bidar's Murki village, the FIR said. When the police reached, they were seen throwing stones at the 3 men trapped inside the car.
Inside the car were Mohammed Azam, Mohammed Salman and Salham, who had come recently from Qatar. The peope killed him, shouting 'They have come from Qatar, kill them'. They threw stones at him with the intent to kill, the police said.
The assembled policemen and some of the locals managed to get the men out of the car and took them to a local hospital. On the way, Azam died. Another man is seriously injured, the FIR said.
The FIR was filed after a complaint from Mohammed Afroz, which said the men had gone to meet relatives at Handikere village. "We asked them to make lunch and went for a walk in the fields. At one location there were school children. We were eating chocolates and threw some to them too," the complaint said.
Around 4 pm, three people came and tried to puncture the tyres of their car. "When we asked why, they said we were child kidnappers. About 10 to 15 people picked up stones and rods and targetted us," the complaint said.
When the crowd started throwing stones, three of the men got frightened and drove away. Near Murki, the car fell into a ditch under a bridge, where the crowd set upon the men.
Mohammad Azam's brother Akram said, "My brother was a software engineer, father of a 2-year-old. He was just a regular guy... How can they think they were kidnappers?"
So far, the police have arrested 18 people among whom there are some women. Manoj Patil, the administrator of the group which informed locals of the presence of outsiders and accused them of child-lifting, has also been arrested.