WhatsApp Rumours Claim One More Life In Telangana

This is the fourth such incidence where fake news and videos have led to mob attacks in Telangana.

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While Chandraiah was killed by the mob, two others with him were badly injured


Hyderabad: 

Highlights

  1. 52-year-old man dressed as a transgender was beaten to death
  2. Accused of child-lifting, mob targetted him after fake WhatsApp forwards
  3. Fourth case where fake news, videos have led to mob attacks in Telangana
Rumours spread on social media cost another life in Telangana on Monday as a 52-year-old man dressed as a transgender was beaten to death after he was accused of being a child-lifter. Two others with him -- Swamy and Narasimha, were severely injured. They were rescued by the police and shifted to Osmania General hospital in Hyderabad.

This is the fourth such incident where fake news and videos have led to mob attacks in the state - earlier three such cases were reported from Nizamabad, Yadadri and from the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The transgenders, who had come to seek alms for Ramdaan, were targeted by the locals in Hyderabad's south zone area of Chandrayangutta following viral WhatsApp forwards about a gang of kidnappers operating in the state.

Someone hit Chandraiah with a tyre and another threw a boulder at his head. The police managed to rescue the other two. But the mob targeted the police and a local corporator, who stepped forward to help, and they sustained minor injuries.

Chandraiah died in hospital, the police said. "Based on video footage of the incident, 35 people were taken into custody," local police officer Y Prakash Reddy said. A case of murder has been filed against them.

A few days ago, another person was beaten to death in Bibinagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad following rumours on social media. In fact at least a dozen attacks have been reported from Vizag, Guntur and other districts of Andhra PRadesh and Telangana.

The police of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have launched a special campaign against circulation of fake news and videos on social media. Four people belonging to a local cable channel, including its admin, were reportedly arrested, according to Hyderabad south zone DCP V Satyanarayana.

Telangana police chief Mahender Reddy and city police commissioner Anjani Kumar have appealed to the people not to believe rumours on social media, and desist from forwarding rumours. Violators, they have warned, will be prosecuted.

"For the last two weeks, provocative messages, photos and videos, from local sources and also old video from Syria, Sri Lanka etc is being circulated, to incite people. We forbid people from forwarding such messages and encouraging rumour-mongering,'' Mr Anjani Kumar said.


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