A video from Jharkhand, of a Railway police official questioning four accused about their modus operandi for kidnapping children, is being shared in parts of Mumbai and outskirts as a gang that has reached the city. The message with the video warns people to beware of the gang as they kidnap children to harvest organs.
The video is viral with a text, "Attention!! From past few weeks incidents have been reported for child abduction/ kidnapping in Nallasopara and Vasai Area. Even today there is an incident reported near Vidya Vikasini school. Requesting everyone to take care of children. Please keep a watchful eye for any unlawful incidents and do not step back in reporting it. Even in society premises please do not allow unknown people to wander. Guards are also asked to tighten the security. Security begins with us. Every single one of us must ensure things are on track."
In the video, a police official can be heard questioning four people with one of them explaining how they kidnap children. To a question from the police official asking about why they kidnap the children, one of the accused replies, they do it remove "organs"
BOOM received the same message on its helpline.
This is one of the several messages viral in Mumbai spreading panic that child kidnapping gangs have reached the city. The messages falsely claim that children have been kidnapped in areas of Chembur, Kurla and Bandra in Mumbai
BOOM found that messages are part of the child kidnapping rumours doing the rounds viral across the country. We debunked each message by running searches and contacting local police stations who rubbished the rumours.
MESSAGE CLAIMING KIDNAPPER IN VASAI REGION
BOOM found that the video going viral claiming child kidnappers caught in Vasai is actually from Dhanbad, Jharkhand. A reverse image search for one of the key frames in the video led us to a news story by a local paper in Jharkhand about the Dhanbad Railway Protection Force busting a child kidnapping racket.
The report in Hindustan, a Hindi daily in Jharkhand, published a report on September 3 titled, "सनसनीखेज : बच्चा चोरी कर किडनी निकालने वाले गैंग के चार गिरफ्तार". The report carried a photo of the arrested accused standing behind the railway police personnel who arrested them.
We also found a news report which included a video of a police official speaking about the case to mediapersons. The viral video was also part of this news bulletin.
We identified the police officer in the video as Avinash Karosia, Inspector, RPF Dhanbad who when contacted confirmed the video. Karosia said, "We arrested the four accused while they were attempting to kidnap a child in a train. The video is of us questioning them."
MESSAGE CLAIMING WOMAN ARRESTED IN CHEMBUR FOR CHILD KIDNAPPING
The second message claims nine children have been kidnapped in Chembur area, and that a lady has been caught who is said to have informed the police that "1500 people have entered Mumbai" to kidnap children.
BOOM contacted Shashikumar Meena, DCP, Zone VI, under whose jurisdiction the areas falls who dismissed the message calling them, "rumours". Meena informed that the rumours began after the Shivaji Nagar police rescued a woman being beaten by residents on suspicion of child kidnapping.
"On September 27, a woman Kashibai Pawar, was caught by residents while she was allegedly trying to kidnap a girl in the area. The locals beat her up but the police reached on time and rescued her. She hails from Solapur and isn't able to confirm why she was in the area. We have arrested her and booked her," Meena said. He added that the woman not found with any weapons and she hasn't informed about "1500 people having entered the city" to kidnap children.
"The contents of the message are baseless and fake. We are asking people to not believe them and report any suspicious behaviour to the police,"he said.
While the Mumbai Police spokesperson was not available for a comment, Maharashtra police tweeted asking people to not believe such rumours.