New Delhi, July 5: In the wake recent lynching incidents due to rumours, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked the states to conduct programmes for creating awareness so that occurence of such incidents is prevented.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday called the latest instance of lynching over rumours of child-lifting "unacceptable" and said it would frame guidelines to prevent such incidents. The apex court insisted that state governments, charged with the constitutional duty of maintaining law and order, must be held responsible for failing to check the occurrence of such incidents.
"Centre has asked the states and Union Territories to take measures to prevent incidents of mob lynching fueled by rumours of child lifting circulating on social media. Ministry of Home Affairs has urged them to keep a watch for early detection of such rumours and initiate effective measures," a MHA statement said.
"States and UTs have been asked to direct District Administrations to identify vulnerable areas and conduct community outreach programmes for creating awareness and building confidence," it added.
As many as 22 people have been reportedly beaten to death in different parts of the country since the first week of May following rumours, mostly propagated on social media and messaging platforms, that peddle fear of outsiders kidnapping children. On Sunday, five people were lynched in Dhule, Maharashtra, on suspicion of being child-lifters.
"It was also stressed that complaints of child abduction or kidnapping should be properly investigated to instill confidence among the affected persons," MHA statement further said.
The first incident was reported from Tamil Nadu in the first week of May followed by a few from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In June, two persons, including a Mumbai based sound engineer, were beaten to death in Assam.
The top court had said it plans to issue guidelines to the Centre as well as all states on how to deal with this grisly phenomenon.