India's uphill battle against deadly spread of fake news

Over a dozen lynchings have taken place in past two months by mobs convinced victims were kidnappers

Paramilitary forces standing guard on Friday after a mob lynched one person and injured others at Tripura State Rifles camp in Mohanpur, on the outskirts of Agartala, north-east India.
Paramilitary forces standing guard on Friday after a mob lynched one person and injured others at Tripura State Rifles camp in Mohanpur, on the outskirts of Agartala, north-east India.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Ms Mohinidevi Nath displays a photo of her cousin Shantadevi Nath, killed by a mob that believed she was intent on abducting children.
Ms Mohinidevi Nath displays a photo of her cousin Shantadevi Nath, killed by a mob that believed she was intent on abducting children.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

It is a toxic, and deadly mix. Fake videos and messages on social media that tap into people's deep fears of their children being kidnapped for the organ trade.

The result? In the past two months, more than a dozen lynchings have taken place, by mobs convinced they were targeting child kidnappers. The Hindustan Times reported that 14 people have lost their lives since May 20.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'India's uphill battle against deadly spread of fake news'. Subscribe