A 22-year-old man, who had returned to Delhi from Madhya Pradesh, has been lynched to death by locals after rumours of him planning to spread coronavirus, the police said on Wednesday. The man had returned from Bhopal in a truck of vegetables after attending a Tablighi Jamaat conference. In the national capital, he was caught by police and released after medical examination, news agency PTI reported.
When he reached his home in the Bawana area of the national capital, rumours spread that he was infected by a coronavirus and had come to Delhi to spread the disease. A group of men attacked him and left for dead. The police took him to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries during the treatment. The Delhi police have registered a case of murder under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and arrested three accused.
Mainstream media adding fuel to the fire by spreading fake news
Ever since the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi turned a coronavirus hotspot, rumours have spread across the country that the members of the religious organisation are spreading the infection. Several fake news by mainstream media organisations like the news agency ANI and controversial news channel Zee News about the Jamaat has added more fuel to the fire.
There have many at least two occasions when Uttar Pradesh police named and shamed these organisations for spreading "fake news". You can read ANI's false reporting here and ZEE media's fake news here.
Not the first incident of lynching over coronavirus
This is not the first incident of lynching over coronavirus fears and last month, a 24-year-old man was allegedly killed by his neighbours in Bihar's Sitamarhi for sharing information with health officials about coronavirus suspects in the area. The victim has been identified as Bablu Kumar, who worked in Maharashtra and returned to his home just two months back.
The deceased identified as one Bablu Kumar had noticed that two people have returned to their homes from Maharashtra and were roaming freely, instead of isolating themselves, a mandatory measure for returnees amid the coronavirus spread. He informed the local COVID-19 control room about them, following which health officials tested the suspects and put them in quarantine.
In the times of coronavirus pandemic, Kumar's responsible behaviour angered the family members of the suspects who decided to take revenge. On Monday, while Kumar was returning from a relative's place, a group of men allegedly attacked him and beaten to death.
The police have registered a case against seven suspects -- Thaga Mahto, Sudhir Kumar, Vikash Mahto, Madan Mahto, Deepak Kumar and Munna Mahto -- upon receiving a complaint from Kumar's brother Guddu. Two of the accused have also been arrested.