70-year-old Bihar woman lynched on suspicion of being child lifter

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A 70-year-old woman was lynched on suspicion of being a child lifter at the border of Bihar’s Nawada and Gaya district on Saturday. The victim was identified as Shanti Devi, a resident of Sirdala police station area of Nawada.

Police have detained some suspects in the incident, which took place in Nagwa village of Fatehpur police station area and launched a hunt for other suspects.

A purported video of the incident, viral on social media, shows children and men beating up the victim.

The incident occurred following rumours that a child lifter had entered the village and taken away several small children. The woman was reportedly accosted by the locals as she was seen in the area for the first time, raising doubts.

According to the victim’s daughter, Neelu Devi, her mother went to Nagwan Bazar, five kms away from her home in Angra village and did not return till evening. At around 7pm, she was informed that her mother was admitted to Sirdala primary health centre.

She rushed to the centre with other family members and found that her mother was critical. Shanti Devi was later rushed to Sadar hospital, where she died during treatment late on Friday night.

Sirdala station house officer (SHO) Ashish Kumar Mishra claimed the incident occurred in Fatehpur police station area, while Fatehpur SHO Bharat Shah said the incident took place in another village.

Multiple police teams have been formed to arrest the perpetrators who are on the run. “We will take strict action against them,” said Gaya range IG Rakesh Rathee.

In 2019, Bihar witnessed lynching of 26 people on false suspicion of being child lifters.

Bihar police have filed first information reports (FIRs) against 360 people in connection with these incidents. Police headquarters said 325 suspects have been arrested in connection with 65 incidents of mob lynching in the state so far.

Apart from the deaths, at least 20 people have been injured in attacks by locals over such rumours, police said.