In yet another case of mob aggression, a mentally challenged woman, who was suspected to be a child lifter, was allegedly lynched by a mob in a Bihar village on Thursday morning, police said. The incident took place in Paharpur Toei village of Vaishali district. This latest victim of mob lynching was an unidentified woman, who reportedly was seen roaming in the neighbouring villages for the last few days in search of food. Police officer in-charge of Sahdei police outpost Ajaz Ahmad told NewsClick that the woman was beaten to death by a mob from the village. “Some villagers informed the police that a woman was lynched as they suspected she was a child lifter,” he said. Ahmad said that the body of the victim was sent for post mortem and the police have lodged a case against unknown villagers. According to a local social activist, soon after a woman in dirty, torn clothes was seen in the village, some people gathered and surrounded her. “More villagers joined later and they started beating her. She was beaten with whatever they could find. Even some women were part of the mob who stripped her, leaving her half naked and beat her till she breathed her last,” said the activist. However, some villagers told the police that the victim was thrashed after she had entered a house and villagers caught her.
This is not the first such incident of mob lynching in the state. Earlier, a Dalit man, belonging to the Musahar community, was reportedly beaten to death by a mob on August 10 in Muhammadpur village near Patna – again based on the suspicion of him being a child lifter. Police said that 23 people were arrested in connection with the case. A group of youths was reportedly seen making video of the even as he repeatedly kept claiming that he was innocent and not a ‘child lifter’, according to the police. So far this year, over four dozen people, mostly coming from marginalised backgrounds, have been attacked and beaten up by mobs, and in early August, two were reportedly lynched on the suspicion of being child lifters in the state, while some of the other purported reasons behind the episodes of lynching include harassing girls, stealing mobile phones and other items. The police have been trying to keep a check on and control the rumours about “child lifters”. However, beggars, vendors and physically challenged people continue to become victims of the mob violence. In some cases, mobs reportedly attacked even the police teams that tried to rescue the victims. The rise in the number of mob violence incidents started after July 20 when three suspected cattle thieves were beaten to death in a village in Saran district by a mob consisting of mostly youths. This trend has become an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who claims to have brought 'sushasan' or good governance to Bihar.