Manipur: Villagers assault two men on suspicion of being child lifters

Police attributed the dual attacks as results of rumours doing the rounds in social media about the presence of child lifters particularly in the district.

As rumours of child lifters have taken the internet by storm, villagers in Kangpokpi district of Manipur roughed up two men, believed to be mentally unsound, in separate incidents on mere suspicion of being child lifters. While the injured men were taken into ‘protective’ custody of the police, Kangpokpi district police were compelled to come out with a clarification after rumours went viral in social media that the men under their custody were cannibals.

Hemant Pandey, Superintendent of Police, Kangpokpi said, “There has been no presence of cannibals in Kangpokpi. The two people taken into protective custody by Saikul police yesterday are not cannibals.” He said so far no complaint has been lodged by any person neither has any group come forward with any material in this regard. They were beaten up by locals on suspicions of being child lifters. As of now they are in protective custody and undergoing treatment, added the senior police officer.

One of the two men was trashed by villagers of Ichaigojang village near Saikul hill town at around 9:30 pm on Monday, while the second man was assaulted at Champai village, minutes after the news of the first incident spread out on social media, police said.

Police attributed the dual attacks as results of rumours doing the rounds in social media about the presence of child lifters particularly in the district. Moreover, the alleged child lifters were believed to be mentally unsound, added the police.

“It is very strange why people succumbed to such rumours. The rumours have been going on in the district for months now. I have checked records of any child missing case in the district but there was none,” said the SP.

The villagers reportedly handed over the alleged child lifters to civil bodies of Saikul, who later informed the police. The identities of the alleged child lifters were yet to be established.

Meanwhile, the Kuki Inpi civil group based in Kangpokpi district said the general public of the region to be careful in future regarding cases of mistaken identity. It also directed them not to deal with such cases directly but make proper detention. The Inpi urged the people to inform them or KSO Sadar Hills immediately in the event of any detention of such suspected persons.

The police have registered two separate cases in this connection.

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