A video of two sadhus in a car apprehended by a mob has been shared on social media with the claim that they are child kidnappers. “They look like sadhus but they are child thieves,” people can be heard saying. It has been claimed that they were caught in Delhi.

Most people have shared a July 31 post by one Arjun Singh that drew 2.2 million views.

 

ye bacha chor hey kishi ko dikhe to turant camplent kare 😠😠😠

Posted by Arjun Singh on Friday, 30 July 2021

Fact-check

A simple keyword search in Hindi “बच्चा चोर साधुओं पीटा” led us to several news reports from July. According to Aaj Tak, a mob thrashed two sadhus mistaking them as child-lifters in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh. The sadhus had asked children for directions but the kids got scared and began to run away. This is when a crowd of people gathered and beat up the sadhus.

Zee News Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh reported that the police registered a case on three people and multiple unknown persons. Such rumours of child kidnappers seem to be common in Dhar. The report further stated that two years ago, in Dhar’s Manawar, a farmer was killed and five farmers were seriously injured after locals mistook them for child kidnappers.

The sadhus were beaten in Dhannad village, Pithampur Sector 1 where they stopped their car to ask children walking on the roadside the way to Indore. Their cries of innocence were ignored by the angry mob and the sadhus were ultimately rescued by some people who also informed the police, reported News18. A video of the incident was uploaded on social media to further the false rumour.

According to Dainik Bhaskar, the children got scared of the sadhus because they had matted hair and ashes on their bodies. One of the sadhus was from Madhya Pradesh while the other was from Rajasthan.

Child-kidnapping rumours have caused multiple deaths in India. Data prepared by IndiaSpend said that 45 persons were killed in 40 cases of mob lynching across nine states between 2014 and March 3, 2018. Alt News has reported on over 30 rumours of child kidnapping in different states, including one which led to the death of a differently-abled man.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.