Seven people have been lynched in two separate incidents on Thursday, and at least six have escaped with injuries over the last 10 days.
Police officer Prashant Anand said the first incident took place in East Singbhum District, where three men were beaten to death by villagers who accused them of kidnapping children. The mob is believed to have followed their auto on suspicion that they were child-lifters.
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The police say rumours had been swirling in the region, as well as the neighbouring Saraikela district, where three cattle traders, Nayeem, Seraj Khan and Sajju, were thrashed to death by a mob.
He denied any incidents of child abduction. The mob chased the auto till Daru village, and while three escaped, they started beating Sheikh Naim, and set their vehicle on fire. There has been a spike in mob violence in the past few months across India, after self-appointed cow protectors gained legitimacy under certain indulgent state governments, to act as vigilantes and deliver mob justice to people they suspected as cattle smugglers. Two vehicles were also damaged. One of the four men died in hospital.
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When stopped by Rajnagar OC Tuleswar Khushwaha, accompanied by an ASI and a constable, the mob also assaulted them and set fire to their jeep.
"These are highly superstitious acts that can not be called communal", said East Singhbhum senior police superintendent of police, Anup T Mathew. "Though victims are Muslims, there is no communal colour to the incident", Kolhan DIG Prabhat Kumar said. Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Rakesh Bansal told The Telegraph. "Villagers gripped by fear of child-lifters have committed the crime".
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