Tripura lynching: Mobile internet, SMS services banned in state for 48 hours to check rumour-mongering

The Tripura government on Thursday imposed a ban on mobile internet and SMS services in the state for 48 hours, citing a threat to public safety. The move came about after since a hawker from Uttar Pradesh was lynched and two others were injured after a mob attacked them on suspicion of being child-lifters. The government is keen to clamp down on rumours from spreading. Already, the "presence of kidnappers" had been "creating panic", the state government said.

 Tripura lynching: Mobile internet, SMS services banned in state for 48 hours to check rumour-mongering

Representational image. Reuters

As per The Economic Times, director general of police AK Shukla has sought to block such fake posts following the incident.

In a letter to Kumar Alok, the principal secretary (Home), Government of Tripura, Shukla said, "Rumours are being spread about the presence of some child lifters, which created panic in the society. There have been incidents of attacks on people found in isolation locations by the public suspecting them to be child lifters. It has been noticed that SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being widely used for transmission of fake images and videos as well as text messages which have potential to incite violence in the state at a larger rate."

The ban on internet and SMS services began at 2 pm on Thursday. The ban is also applicable to messages sent by media personnel.

The lynching incident took place at Murabari in West Tripura district, about 30 kilometres from Agartala. The three hawkers, all from outside the state, had come to Murabari around 9.30 am. They were visiting the state for trade purposes, assistant inspector general (AIG) of police Smriti Ranjan Das said.

They had hired a vehicle from Bitterban, an urban slum, but when they reached the area, people suspected them of being child lifters and started beating them up, the AIG said.

"The hawkers, along with their driver, sought refuge at a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) camp in the area. However, nearly a thousand people chased them and entered the camp as well, and lynched one of the hawkers," Das said, adding that TSR jawans fired two rounds in the air and four tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

One of the hawkers died and four people — the other two hawkers, the hired car's driver, and a police constable — were injured in the incident, Das said.

The injured police constable was identified as Sumit Sanyal. The person killed in the incident was a resident of Uttar Pradesh, police said.

The two other hawkers, from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and the car's driver have been admitted to the GB Pant Hospital, they said. Inspector general of police (Law and Order) KV Sreejesh, DIG Arindam Nath and other officials visited the spot.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 29, 2018 13:42:16 IST