A vehicle damaged when an angry mob lynched one person and i
njured others in Mohanpur.

THREE NEW LYNCHINGS and the Indian state cuts Internet :

New Delhi : Authorities in  north-eastern India have cut  Internet access after crazed mobs beat three people to death in lynchings sparked by rumours spread on smartphones, officials said Friday.

They were the latest in a  string of more than 25 similar killings in recent months across India, according to press reports, that have been ignited by false information spread on messaging service WhatsApp.

''The administration has decided to cut off the Internet and mobile messaging services for next  48 hours......to stop rumour mongering,'' said Smriti Ranjan Das, a police spokesman in the tribal-dominated  state of Tripura.

The latest victims, one of whom was tasked by authorities with warning people against hoaxes, perished in three separate incidents on Thursday in Tripiura.

Locals in Sabroom, some 130 kilometers from the state capital Agartala, attacked  ''rumor buster"    Sukanta Chakraborty with sticks and bricks as he was warning people in a megaphone against erroneous rumours.

Tripura police said it was unclear what sparked the attack.

Das told  AFP that the man died on the spot and that his driver was injured in a frenzied atatck that lasted nearly an hour.

''It was sudden and vicious attack and they didn't get time to escape. Our teams reached on the spot and could only rescue the driver ,'' the police spokesman said.

Hours before in West Tripura district, a nearly   1,000  strong mob attacked  four traders from noethern uttar Pradesh state,  killing one and leaving the other critically injured.

The four took refuge inside a  paramilitary camp after  hundreds of people  believing them to be child kidnappers chased their vehicle after they stopped for a tea break on a road.

But the mob entered the  base and dragged all four from the car, attacking them with sticks and rods as soldiers unsuccessfully tried to break up the crowd by firing warning shots.

Police official Das identified the victim as  Zahir Khan. A soldier was also critically injured. Photos of the aftermath showed the men's badly dented van with its windows smashed and the doors yanked open.

India has a  whopping  billion-plus  mobile phone users, the world's largest anywhere in the world, with an estimated  478 million  smartphone internet users.


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