Delhi policemen assaulted in Bareilly: Visit Uttar Pradesh at your own risk

As many as 55 incidents of mob violence have been reported in August, resulting on one death and serious injuries to 33 others in Uttar Pradesh, where mobs are increasingly ruling over large areas

Delhi policemen assaulted in Bareilly: Visit Uttar Pradesh at your own risk

Biswajeet Banerjee

People in Uttar Pradesh are increasingly taking law into their hands and there is serious concern after a team of Delhi policemen were beaten up on suspicion that they were part of a gang of child lifters. Tourism department’s  catch phrase, `Jisne UP nahi dekha usne Bharat nahi dekha’ ( He who hasn’t seen UP hasn’t seen India) should now change and warn people to visit at their own risk

The assault took place in Bareilly on Thursday night, when a police team from North-East Delhi went to Bhura hamlet to serve a summon in connection with a dowry case. As they were dressed in plainclothes, villagers mistook them as child lifters and beat them up. They were later rescued by the local police but by that time damage was done.

Admitting to growing lawlessness and increase in incidents of child lifting, officials pleaded their helplessness. At the smallest suspicion villagers, they say, are beating up people. As per police records in just last one month, 52 incidents of mob lynching were reported, a majority of them from western Uttar Pradesh. The DGP of the state OP Singh admitted that one man died and 33 others were injured in mob attacks since August 2.

The DGP says that NSA has been invoked against the people who attacked innocent villagers.

“This stern warning has no impact on the cases of child lifting. In last 11 persons were attacked fearing them to be child lifter. Some of the were employees who had come to the said village on official work,” Umesh Mishra, a human rights activist said.

Mishra has filed a case in High Court against growing incidents of mob lynching and police inaction.

In Rae Bareli, four persons, including a telecom engineer, were thrashed by locals on the suspicion of being child-lifters.  Amar Kumar Verma (35), an engineer working with a private telecom company, was attacked when he was returning from Kesarua village after attending a fault in a mobile tower.

In another incident, villagers of Madauli village assaulted an elderly man from Bihar suspecting him to be a child-lifter. The police rescued him and took him to PHC from where he was shifted to District Hospital where he is fighting a life and death battle. In yet another case, a mob caught a woman, and claiming that she was dragging a 10-year-old girl.

Villagers attacked a health department team in Fatehpur on Wednesday, detaining members for hours on suspicion of being child lifters. Three policemen, including a sub-inspector, were injured when they tried to rescue the team from the hostile crowd.

Siddharth Kalhans of People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said that such repeated incidents have sent shock waves among the villagers. They now fear sending their children out to play.

“Such incidents occur when people are travelling from one village to another. Villagers generally recognize each other not from their own village but also from neighbouring village. When one travels through a village with a child and if child is crying for any reason villager suspect him to be a child lifter and beat him.  When mob psychology sets in no argument works,” Kalhans said.

Police however says it is the social media which adds fuel to fire. The WhatsApp messages do more damage. One such message claims that a gang of 15 to 20 people, including women and children, was wandering the streets in search of kids from whom they extracted vital organs after kidnapping them. It is accompanied by gory pictures. A video message also shows car-borne criminals kidnapping a child. These images and videos have nothing to do with the state, a police statement said.

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