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How WhatsApp turned tribal villagers into a killer mob

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Source : Hindustan Times Naeem was dragged out of his SUV and thrashed to death by the villagers along the Tata-Chaibasa road

Whatsapp is quite a tool when it comes to ease of communication. However, things take an ugly turn when it becomes a messenger of baseless rumors. One such rumor turned tribals into mob killers along the borders of Seraikela-Kharsawan, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts in Jharkhand. The message was in Hindi and said there are suspected child lifters in the area who are carrying sedatives, sprays, injections, small towels and cotton. They converse in Hindi, Malyali and Bangla. If you catch any suspicious activity near your house, immediately inform the police as they might belong to the child lifting gang.

Villagers in the Seraikela-Kharsawan, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts believed in these rumors, picked up weapons and started attacking any stranger they found near their dwelling. Thursday saw the death of seven people in two separate incidents.

Source : Hindustan Times Videos of the thrashing did the rounds on social media, fueling widespread protests

New to technology, the tribal villagers in these areas do not possess the ability to differentiate between truth and rumor. They readily believe in any and everything they come across without having the capability to carefully discern facts. Social media platforms in such areas where the inhabitants are either illiterate or school dropouts are often used to fan tensions. The attacks were also filmed and the brutality inflicted evident in the clip led to violent protests in Jamshedpur and multiple nearby localities.

One of these clips, shows Naaem, blood tricking from his body, pleading the villagers for mercy before they thrash him to death anyway. Naeem and four other cattle traders were passing through Sobhapur on Thursday morning. They were stopped along the Tata-Chaibasa road, dragged out of their SUV and were tortured for close to four hours before beaten to death.

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