Karnataka mob lynching: Police arrest 30 people, including WhatsApp group admin

The Police has arrested near about 30 persons, including an admin of a WhatsApp group, in connection with the lynching of a man in Karnataka’s Bidar District on the suspicion that he was a child-lifter, officials said. 

Amar Patil, who shot pictures and videos of the group and circulated it widely in the area, and Manoj Biradar, the admin of ‘Mother Murki’ group, were arrested, said Superintendent of Police D. Devaraja.

The mob killed a 32-year-old software engineer Mohammad Azam and also injured three of his friends on July 13 in Aurad taluka’s Murki village.

There were also women among those arrested, sources revealed. 

The Police said while on their way back to Hyderabad, Mohammad Azam and his friends Mohammad Salman Alinor, Talha Ismail Qureshi, and Noor Mohammad Sadique had stopped near a hamlet, probably with an intention to take pictures. The mob frenzy started after the man from Qatar was seen distributing chocolates to local children. Rumours of child lifting were already doing the rounds in the area and seeing the chocolates being handed out to local children, residents of a nearby Murki village, circulated messages on a WhatsApp group.

While appealing to the government to stop mob killings, Mohammad Azam’s brother Akram, said, “They had gone out for a drive. My brother gave chocolates to children. We don’t know what their parents thought but several villagers gathered and beat them. How can they think they were kidnappers?”

However, some residents called the police from Kamal Nagar station and police reached the spot after receiving the information but according to reports, they were outnumbered, and even a couple of police constables were reportedly injured during the conflict.

Police managed to bring the situation under control and shifted the injured people to a hospital, however, Azam died on the way, they said.

Other victims, who sustained injuries in the mob attack, were recovering in a city hospital.