NEW DELHI (DPA) - A worker was lynched while 11 more were injured in northern India in an attack by mobs who suspected them of being child abductors, police said on Monday (Sept 2).
The violence comes after a similarly motivated assault on a pregnant woman in the capital, New Delhi.
India has seen a spate of mob lynchings over the past two years sparked by rumours and false messages on social media that child abductors were on the prowl.
In an incident in Uttar Pradesh state's Amethi district on Sunday evening, a group of workers had stopped at a liquor shop where they got into an argument with a villager, which was followed by a scuffle.
Mobs of villagers soon gathered at the spot following rumours that the workers were part of a "child-lifting gang", district police chief Khyati Garg said.
One worker died from his injuries, while two among those injured were in a "critical condition", she said, adding seven villagers have been arrested.
In a similar attack in New Delhi on Sunday, a 25-year-old pregnant woman was beaten by angry residents who suspected her of kidnapping a child.
Police said the woman was in a stable condition and three people had been arrested in this connection.
There have been a string of such attacks and lynchings in the country since 2017.
The highest number of cases this year - over 40 - were reported from Uttar Pradesh, though there was no evidence of child trafficking, domestic media reported.
In most cases, the attacks were sparked by false messages on social media that warned of kidnapping of children to harvest their organs.
Police were conducting an awareness campaign and have appealed to people not to believe rumours or messages on child abduction being shared online.