TODAY -

Rumours of cannibalism, child lifters : Dangerous and mischievous
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 06 2018 -



It is dangerous and mischievous too.

Over 20 (some have put it at over 30) people killed in mob violence all triggered by the mad fear that child lifters are around.

This disturbing trend is not confined to any region but spreads across the country.

Reports of mob gathering and lynching suspects have come in from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, in fact from all over the country.

Manipur has not yet joined the list of States where suspects have been killed, but at least two have been savagely beaten up somewhere in Kangpokpi district.

Apart from the rumour that child lifters are on the prowl, what made the Kangpokpi incident all that more disturbing is the fact that rumours did the round that the two men had indulged in cannibalism, having eaten six children !

Making it all that more disturbing is the manner in which one local TV channel went to town reporting that the two had indulged in cannibalism !

Not surprisingly the news clip of the said channel went viral on the social media !

This is what is deeply disturbing.

As in Manipur, talks of child lifters on the prowl spread like wild fire through the social media in other parts of the country and what makes this all that more disturbing is when such information is passed through Whatsapp in the sense that only those personally known are connected via Whatsapp unlike other media such as Facebook.

And it stands that any message sent by someone known to the receiver will be believed.

This is what seems to be happening.

In many ways the fear and apprehension that such messages evoke may be linked to the sense of security that one feels once one steps out from one’s own house.

This is a point which should not blow over the head of the Government particularly the law enforcing agencies.

If rumours can trigger killings then this may be said to be a reflection of how much the people trust the Government to protect them.

This is the very reason why local people have taken it upon themselves to protect their turf by keeping vigil in the night in the light of the rumours doing the round that child lifters are on the prowl With tension high, an encounter with any unknown people in their vicinity particularly in the night can therefore prove to be fatal for the stranger and this is what happened at Assam some time back.

Time for the Government to act. So far nothing like what happened in neighbouring Assam has occurred in Manipur but surely the State Government cannot take things easy.

At Kangpokpi itself, so far three strangers have been picked up and while nothing catastrophic has happened in all the cases, this should not let the Government down its vigil.

An open official declaration from the Government urging the people not to panic over the rumours can go some way in calming frayed nerves.

On the other hand the fourth estate too need to be extra cautious while reporting on any of these cases for any excessive and misleading reporting can trigger mass paranoia and give more food to the unfounded rumours doing the round.

Reporting the rumours as news will be as good as spreading the rumour itself.



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