Strict action against rumour mongers, warns Bengal police chief

Kolkata, Jan 23 (IANS) West Bengal Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkaystha on Monday warned of “strict action” against those spreading rumours to cause unrest in the state.

“Some people are spreading rumours about instances of robbery, molestation and child abduction by a group of armed and masked men in different districts and bordering areas of West Bengal. We are very much aware of this. Police will take strictest action against these mischief mongers who are spreading these rumours,” Purkaystha said in a press conference.

“The rumours are being spread just to create a sense of restlessness in the state. We have already arrested 25 people for spreading rumours and assaulting people,” he said.

Rumours were spread in villages across West Bengal’s Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Burdwan districts that a large group of masked men are roaming around in the area and resorting to violence, robbery, child abduction and molestation.

Some social media posts also accused the police of inactivity and asked the villagers to take action against the miscreants.

Amid mass intimidation, several instances of mass beatings have taken place in the last one week. A mob in Burdwan district’s Kalna lynched a man and severely injured four others suspecting them of child trafficking.

A woman and his mother from Nadia district’s Kalyani were also beaten up by a crowd in Ranaghat based on those rumours on Saturday. Both women had to be hospitalised.

“We do not want any innocent people to be unnecessarily targeted. They should not be victimised because of such rumours,” the State Police Chief said.