Burdwan: An elderly man was killed and six others were injured today when mobs went on a beating spree after rumours on social media about the presence of kidnappers looking for children in several places here, police said.
The 60-year-old man was killed and four others were injured when a group of panicked people thrashed them at Baruipara in Kalna town, Superintendent of Police Kunal Agarwal said.
The rumour was doing the rounds for a couple of days on social networking sites that kidnappers were roaming in Kalna to abduct children, Agarwal said.
The five persons came from Ranaghat in Nadia district to spray insecticide in plants and trim them. They used to come in this time of the year.
Seeing these unfamiliar faces, a panicked man stopped them at Baruipara. Though they produced their voter ID cards, he was not satisfied. Soon, others joined him and they beat them up with bricks and sticks, the officer said.
The victims were rushed to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital where one of them, identified as Anil Biswas, was declared brought dead. The four others were admitted with serious injuries, Agarwal said.
Police collected CCTV footage from a garment shop to nab the culprits.
In another similar incident, a mob assaulted two persons at Dhatrigram near Kalna town suspecting them as abductors of children.
The two were admitted to Kalna hospital, the officer said, adding that the mob attacked the police with brickbats and damaged two vehicles when they reached for their rescue.
Similar incidents were also reported from two other places – Jamtara and Siddheswari More – in the subdivision. However, the number of total injured could not be confirmed immediately.
Altogether 15 persons were detained in connection with the incidents, the officer said.
Police were urging people in various parts of the district through public address system not to pay heed to rumours about kidnappers or terrorists, and inform police if they got any such information.