Kerala black sticker scare: Pinarayi steps in to allay fears

Kerala black sticker scare: Pinarayi steps in to allay fears

Amid a scare over "mysterious" black stickers found pasted on glass windows in houses in some parts of Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has allayed fears that they were being pasted by gangs of child lifters and thieves as a way of marking targets.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the chief  minister referred to a similar scare in the northern district of Malappuram in 2017 and said after a preliminary investigation, rumours about child lifters using stickers to identify homes of potential targets were found baseless.

"The state police chief has communicated an alert to all police stations, control rooms and cyber cells in the state. Measures to track messages intended to create the scare are also in place," he said.

The stickers were recently found pasted on some of the houses in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Idukki and Alappuzha districts. Inspector generals in the respective ranges are investigating the matter, Vijayan said.

Rumours regarding the involvement of travelling groups from other states engaged in child trafficking have been widely shared on social media.

Some of these messages were also shared as "official" messages from the state  police.

The stickers will be sent for a forensic examination and the police are also tracking the sources of misinformation being spread on social media in connection with the issue.

Some of the glass manufacturers said it was standard procedure for them to paste similar stickers to avoid breakage when glass sheets are stacked up in batches.

On Tuesday, state police chief Loknath Behera dismissed rumours about the involvement of child-trafficking gangs.

"Like in Malappuram last year, a probe was conducted and no evidence tracing this to such a gang was established," he said and sought help from the public in ending the scare.

 

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