The child-lifter cry was raised afresh on Sunday morning, leaving a 24-year-old youth nearly dead in its wake. Tinku Roy was thrashed by a mob in Belgachhia and then handed over to Ultadanga police for being a kidnapper, a charge that nobody could later substantiate.
The desire to “teach him a lesson” led the mob to quarrel with the thana officer-in-charge. Then, it squatted on the road for 20 minutes, demanding that he be handed over. Ultadanga police lodged a case against Tinku, charging him with “attempt to kidnap”.
This is the third incident of its kind across the city when people went berserk, suspecting someone to be a kidnapper. On earlier occasions, the “suspect” was picked up from outside a school. Tinku was beaten up on a road with no school close by. The rumour that child-lifters were on the prowl stoked public rage.
Tinku, who neighbours say is a drug addict, called out to 11-year-old Vicky Shaw on his way back from a local shop in Belgachhia’s Kundu Lane. Vicky complained that Tinku, whom he did not even know, started slapping him for having taken up smoking. Vicky’s cries drew the crowd.
The mob set upon Tinku. When he refused to admit that he was a kidnapper, the blows rained down on him. At 12.15 pm, the cops were called in. An officer rescued the youth and packed him off to the police station in a taxi.