Four lynched in AP, Telangana after rumours on social media led to panic

A few messages even had the names of senior police officers, creating terror among the people, particularly in the rural areas. Image for representation

Vigilantes lynched over four people and thrashed at least 20 in different districts of the Telugu-speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana following rumours on social media that killer gangs are on the prowl kidnapping children and robbing people on the streets during the thick of the night.

A few messages even had the names of senior police officers, creating terror among the people, particularly in the rural areas.

With the fear psychosis spreading to urban areas and attacks on mentally ill and non-Telugu speaking travellers and visitors increasing, Telangana DGP Mahender Reddy addressed a press conference on Wednesday urging people not to believe in fake news and warned people against taking the law into their hands.

“If you find someone suspicious please inform the police. We will find out and initiate action on those who are spreading these messages in social media,” said Reddy.

The DGP’s media interaction came after Nimmala Balakrishna was lynched by local youth in Ziapalli of Yadadri district on Tuesday night.

Balakrishna came to the village to visit one of his relatives. Around 8 pm, some youth accosted him and when he failed to give a proper answer, he was beaten to death. The DGP said one more death was reported from Meerpet.

In Chengal village of Nizamabad district, two farmers from Darpalli were tied and beaten by locals when they tried to enter a mango orchard. Devya Naik and Dedavath Lalu suffered grievous injuries.

Naik died while undergoing treatment in NIMS while Lalu's condition is said to be critical. In Vikarabad district, at least nine farm labourers were beaten as villagers suspected them to be members of the dreaded “Parthi gang”.

In Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, Police Commissioner T Yoganand addressed a press conference urging people not to believe in fake news.

In Narsipatnam of the district, a Rajasthani youth, Rekha Patel, who can’t speak Telugu, was mistaken to be a gang member and was beaten by the locals. He was chased and thrashed. The mob broke his limbs.

In Visakhapatnam city, two beggars were beaten up. Similar incidents were reported from Darsi in Prakasam district, Amalapuram, Ayinapalli, Allavaram and Bodasakurru in East Godavari district, and Gannavaram of Krishna district.

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Four lynched in AP, Telangana after rumours on social media led to panic

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