Did Our Son Cross India-Pak Border: Mother Of Techie Killed In Karnataka
The father of the software engineer who died in an attack by a rumour-crazed mob in Karnataka's Bidar, said the government should take action to stop the spread of fake stories on social media. His 32-year-old son and his friends were mistaken for child-lifters after they tried to share their chocolates with some school children - all because of WhatsApp rumours that have already cost more than 20 lives across several states.
Mohammad Azam, a UK educated professional who was working with Accenture, died on the spot after the mob at a village in Bidar targetted him and friends on Friday. Out on a day's picnic, the men had fallen victim to the suspicions of the members of a local WhatsApp group, who called in reinforcements when they saw them interacting with the children.
The mob gave chase to their car, pulled them out and beat him and his friends with sticks, stones and whatever else they had at hand. The frenzied mob even turned on the police when they came, injuring several officers, the First Information Report filed in the case said.
Mohammad Azam had tried to show documents to villagers, pleading with them to believe that he was not a child lifter, his family said today.
"The villagers were shown identity cards but they didn't listen," Mohammad Osman, the father of Mohammad Azam told reporters. "He was a software engineer and people beat him to death trusting a rumor. I request the government to take strict action against those who killed him," he said.
The family still has trouble believing that the mob did not even give the men a hearing. "My brother was a software engineer, father of a 2-year-old. He was just a regular guy... How can they think they were kidnappers?" said his brother Akram.
So far, the police have arrested 18 people among whom there are some women. Manoj Patil, the administrator of the group which informed locals of the presence of outsiders and accused them of child-lifting, has also been arrested.
Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara said, "We are going to take it very seriously and see that this kind of incident does not happen again. We will sensitise all the police officers to handle such a situation and create awareness among the people and not do this kind of thing".