According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, a total of 63,356 children were victims of kidnapping in India in 2018, marking a sharp 11% rise from 2017. The number of adult victims were reportedly at 1,05,536.
The same year was also marked by a series of lynchings across the country, fuelled by child kidnapping rumours on WhatsApp.
Among the states, Maharashtra tops the list with 10,623 reported cases, while Uttar Pradesh follows closely behind at 8,721 cases. Both the states have recorded the highest number of child victims of kidnapping over the last two years.
2018 saw a sharp rise in the number of victims from the previous year, with an 11% jump. It is considerably higher than the 4% growth in the number of victims between 2016 and 2017.
WhatsApp And Lynchings
In the first six months of 2018, more than 20 people were lynched to death by mobs across the country, on suspicions of being child lifters. These suspicions were fuelled by a massive misinformation campaign on WhatsApp, sending people on a frenzy in paranoia that their children will be kidnapped.
It didn't help that these obscure messages would be accompanied by graphic videos and images of violence, causing people to react aggressively with fatal consequences.
In November, BOOM spoke to IPS Harsh Poddar and IPS Rema Rajeshwari - two top cops from Maharashtra and Telangana, respectively - who gave us a first hand account of how they averted fatalities from mob attacks inspired by such rumours. They told us that despite the widespread frenzy, none of these cases were linked to any actual cases of kidnapping at all.
Updated On: 2020-01-20T11:56:11+05:30