Hyderabad: With the rumours of gangs of kidnappers killing children and attacking parents continuing despite efforts to counter them, the Central intelligence agencies in coordination with local police have begun a probe to identify those behind the fake reports.
Four people have been killed by angry mobs in Telangana state and one in Andhra Pradesh in the past week, suspecting the persons to be kidnappers. The police in the two states have gone on social media platforms and the media and holding public meetings to dispel the rumours.
“Despite our best efforts to put an end to it, every day some new gory images of children with new messages are being circulated through social media and WhatsApp. We suspect organised gangs are involved in it, as audio messages in Telugu, Hindi and Urdu with a local accent are being forwarded at short intervals. It appears to be handiwork of a trained group,” said an official.
The rumours started from Kurnool and Kadapa districts early this week and spread to Telangana state. In the last three days, the messages have kept people on tenterhooks, forcing the police to take up awareness campaigns by roping in cultural troops and sending officials to quell the rumours.
“The focus of the police is more on taking up awareness campaigns, preventing untoward incidents. As a confidence buildings, armed patrolling is being taken up in the villages to ensure no innocent persons is attacked,” said another police official.
Central intelligence agencies with assistance of cyber experts from various institutions are trying to zero in on the main culprits. “The intelligence agencies have warned of trouble owing to the rumours following which a massive counter campaign was started in the Telugu states. It is too early to say whether any extremist group is involved in spreading the rumours so as to divert the resources,” another official said....