Karnataka: Techie lynched to death over WhatsApp rumour

Mohammad Azam, a software engineer from Hyderabad, who worked with Google went on a long drive with friends and relatives. A mob dragged them out and beat them furiously in Bidar, Karnataka

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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NH Web Desk

A 28-year-old software engineer was beaten to death and three others seriously injured when a mob turned violent over a rumour spread through a WhatsApp message about child theft in Bidar, Karnataka. One of the injured is a citizen of Qatar.

According to the police the mob hysteria was triggered when people saw one of the four people, the Qatar national distributing chocolates to the local children.

A long drive on his weekly day off along with a relative and friends proved to be deadly for Mohammad Azam, a software engineer who was working with Google. A pall of gloom has gripped the house of Mohammad Azam in Errakunta in the old city of Hyderabad.

His body was brought home late Saturday and was buried at a graveyard near his house. Three friends of Azam, who were injured in the mob attack, were admitted to a private hospital in the city. They include Salham Eid Al Kubasi, a Qatari national who was on a vacation to India.

The family of Azam, a father of a two-year-old child, is seeking justice. Mohammad Azam’s brother Mohammad Akram, also a techie, urged the Telangana government to take up the issue with the Karnataka government for a proper investigations into the incident.

"The guilty should be punished so that no other innocent loses his life in this manner," said Akram.

He recalled that their cousin Noor Mohammad, Salham, Mohammad Salman and another friend came to meet Azam on Friday. "They left the house around 11 a m We did not know that they were going out of the city," said Akram.

At Murki, a mob chased the car and forced it to stop. The mob dragged out the occupants and started beating them with sticks and stones. After some time, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the mob.

It was a pleasure trip for the friends, who enjoyed the outing in the countryside. Relatives of Azam say they stopped at a hamlet and were taking pictures.

Slaham saw a group of children returning from a school. As he was carrying chocolates brought from Qatar, he offered it to few children.

When some people saw strangers including a foreigner offering chocolates to children, they mistook them to be child lifters. Sensing trouble, the group left the place in their car.

However, few residents of the hamlet alerted people of nearby village Murki over their mobile phones.

At Murki, a mob chased the car and forced it to stop. The mob dragged out the occupants and started beating them with sticks and stones. After some time, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the mob.

While Azam died on the spot, others sustained critical injuries. Two of them were battling for life at a hospital in Hyderabad.

"We are software engineers. Do we look like child lifters," asked Akram, who fails to understand why the mob did not believe their clarifications. The young man wants the governments to take some serious action to stop lynching over rumours being spread through WhatsApp.

More than 20 people have been killed across India over rumours in the last few months.

With inputs from IANS

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