'Doctored videos led to Maha lynching incidents'
Mumbai: At least five videos that allegedly fuelled rumours of child-lifting and led to lynching incidents in Maharashtra have been found to be "manipulated", a senior police official said on Thursday.
He claimed that most of these videos were "misrepresented to create panic" and were not of incidents in Maharashtra, but shot elsewhere.
Some of these clippings were from places like Bengaluru, Syria and Karachi in Pakistan, he said.
"These videos should not have been circulated. Whether these were morphed, edited or bogus, the clips created serious problems," Maharashtra's Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Bipin Bihari said.
"Our cyber crime team is investigating the source of these videos," he said.
Mob violence and lynching triggered by rumours have claimed ten lives in 14 incidents in Maharashtra during the last one-and-a-half months.
On July 1, five people were lynched by a mob in Dhule district on suspicion of being child-lifters, sending shock waves through the state.
The videos were widely circulated on social media across the state following which the Malegaon Police in Nashik district registered seven offences.
"During our investigation, we found these videos were manipulated, and the clippings were also not of places as claimed by people on social media," Malegaon's Additional Superintendent of Police Harsh Poddar said.
"We have registered seven offences against people who circulated these videos on WhatsApp in Malegaon. The videos misrepresent incidents of kidnapping to create panic," he said.
In one of the videos circulated in Nandurbar district, burqa-clad women were seen walking on a road. "The clip was actually of an area in Bengaluru," he said.
Another video, in which two men on motorcycles were seen picking up a boy, was from Pakistan's Karachi area. It was part of an NGO's awareness campaign in Karachi about missing children; he said based on the analysis of police.
Another video in which a boy was seen in a police vehicle and telling reporters that he was kidnapped in Sindkhedraja area of Buldhana district, was actually of some financial dispute case and not kidnapping, he said.
He further said that a video which showed the killing of children was from Syria and was circulated fuelling suspicion of organ trade of children in Maharashtra.
Another video shared on social media in Maharashtra was of some incident in Gujarat, the ASP added.