Bengaluru: "Why would millions of people across country invest in rumours which do the rounds on social media platforms and Whatspp? There has been a deep-rooted fear instilled in each one's mind about child abductors. My emotional appeal is that, let's not fall prey to such messages," said Ramnath Bhat, a PhD scholar and researcher from Indiranagar in Bengaluru, who escaped from being lynched by a frenzied mob at Surguja taluk in Ambikapur district of Chhattisgarh recently.
The 36-year-old Ramnath said that he was mistaken for a child-lifter and the incident occurred last Tuesday, June 26 at Surguja under the Darima police limits.
He said, “I had gone to Ambikapur for my research work in the first week of June. I was coordinating with a teacher there and with his help I wanted to speak to some villagers. The teacher called a man who came along with a child. While speaking to him, I ruffled the child's hair and smiled at him. After that, we left for breakfast. After ten minutes, someone told us that we had to go to the government school as someone wanted to talk to us. When I reached there, a mob had gathered. They were shouting, threatening me and cursing me. The number began to swell. Realising something amiss, we contacted the police who rushed to the spot and rescued us."
Vinod Kumar Awasthi, Inspector, Darima police station, told Deccan Chronicle, "We received a call from one Shekhar, who told us that a mob had gathered at the school and they were demanding that Mr Bhat, an alleged child abductor, be handed over to them. We rushed and took control of the situation. We asked the villagers not to believe in such rumours."
The inspector said that Mr Bhat, who is doing his PHD from London, reached the village on June 7. He was staying at the Ambikpur Guesthouse and was talking to the villagers for his research. "On June 26, a five-year-old child, Bhopuchand, accompanied his uncle to the school where Mr Bhat played with him. The child after reaching home fell unconscious. The family mistook the situation and gathered at the school. However, after convincing them, they left the place," added Mr Awasthi....