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Lynched for ‘kid theft’

A man was lynched at Narkeldanga on Thursday night on suspicion of abducting a child. Less than 12 hours later, two more instances of mob fury were reported — a woman was attacked at Narkeldanga and a youth in Karaya around the same time on Friday, both for alleged child lifting.

Mohammed Altamash, 35, was returning home to Patwar Bagan around 11.15pm on Thursday when nearly 300 people attacked him on Raja Dinendra Street in north Calcutta. “He was beaten up brutally even before police arrived with reinforcement,” said an officer of Narkeldanga police station. The father of four died at NRS hospital.

Around 12 hours later, a mob laid siege to Narkeldanga police station demanding that the cops hand over a woman local residents had accused of being a child lifter.

Six policemen were injured and a patrol van damaged in a pitched battle between the cops and the local residents.

The police had rescued the woman from Canal East Road after she was attacked by a mob. “Her name is Munni and she came here from Titagarh to beg after Friday prayers,” said an officer of Narkeldanga police station.

A similar incident occurred at Karaya, which has been witnessing repeated instances of lynching and violence over allegations of child lifting for the past two weeks.

Around 100 people threw stones at policemen on Palm Avenue when they tried to rescue four youths caught by local residents on suspicion of stealing kids.

The mob managed to briefly extract one youth from the clutches of the police. “They started beating up the youth but we rescued him. He suffered head and face injuries,” said an officer of Karaya police station. A reserve force cop was also injured.

Rumours of child abduction have been rife in Topsia, Tiljala, Tangra and Dara Para areas since November.

Police say only one child has gone missing from the Topsia area in the last two months. He was later found dead near a pond. “These are just rumours. Not a single complaint of a child missing has been lodged with Narkeldanga police station in three years,” said Jawed Shamim, special additional commissioner of police, headquarters.

Residents alleged police had let off two accused women. “Police inaction has angered people and they have started resorting to violence,” said Mohammed Yakub, a resident of Narkeldanga.