Vijayawada civic officials relocate people with intellectual disabilities over fears of lynchings
The false WhatsApp rumours about child abductors have led to many innocent people being beaten up and killed across India. To prevent such incidents in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, the municipal corporation has decided to relocate people with intellectual disabilities to rehabilitation centres.
The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation carried out a drive to identify people who might be vulnerable to mob lynchings and sent them to rehabilitation centres. In its first drive the corporation identified about 80 people and relocated them to Amma Naana, an NGO in Hyderabad.
The corporation has said that they will bear the costs of their treatment.
Officials at the Amma Naana NGO said that they had identified over 1,000 people but they do not have the capacity to shelter so many. So they chose 80 persons who are extremely vulnerable to bring them to their shelter.
The Vijayawada Corporation followed the Hyderabad Police model, where police asked transgender women to return to their native towns after a series of mob lynchings. The police are also taking care to ensure that beggars and homeless persons are not killed by violent mobs and sent them to rehabilitation centres.
Fake messages are being circulated through WhatsApp alleging that child kidnappers have entered the city and that people should be careful. Some of them contain photos and videos.
At least 30 incidents have been reported in India, the most recent from Maharashtra where five persons from a nomadic community were beaten to death by villagers.
As a result, the Centre has asked WhatsApp to create a mechanism to warn people of such hoax messages.