Seven people who were part of a mob that thrashed a mentally challenged man here suspecting him to be a child-lifter have been arrested, police said on Friday. So far, 40 arrests have been made in Bulandshahr in different cases wherein rumours about child-lifters led to violence, Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh told PTI.
The mentally challenged man was roughed up by the mob on Thursday morning over suspicion that he would abduct a child in Andhel village of Sikandrabad area. The mob also attacked the policemen who tried to save the man, according to officials. As the rumours about child-lifting spread, it was reported that a mentally challenged man had been assaulted. Seven people who were part of the mob have been arrested, Singh said.
"So far 40 arrests have been made in similar cases reported recently in Bulandshahr," he said. The SSP said efforts are being made to raise awareness among people about the issue.
"We are trying to protect such people, especially those with mental health issues, from becoming soft targets of these mob attacks triggered by rumours. The desolate and mentally challenged are being identified and taken to shelter homes or hospitals to ensure their safety," Singh said.
The Bulandshahr police are reaching out to young people and students in schools and colleges to raise awareness, he added. Over the past week, scores of incidents of mobs thrashing individuals over suspicion of child-lifting have been reported. Alarmed over these reports, the Uttar Pradesh Police has decided to use the stringent National Security Act against those spreading rumours.