32 held in India after mob kills man over WhatsApp child kidnap rumour.

NEW DELHI : Indian police said on Sunday they have arrested 32  people after a man was killed by a mob in the country's latest lynching over suspicion of child kidnapping sparked by rumours on WhatsApp.

The men were arrested over the murder of Google employee Mohammed Azam who was attacked along with two friends by a 2,000 strong mob in southern Karnataka state's Bidar district late on Friday.

Azam's friends, including a Qatar national, were critically injured in the assault that came days after the Facebook owned messaging service published advertisements in Indian newspapers offering tips to curb the spread of fakenews  information on its platform.

More than 20 people have been lynched in India after being accused of child abduction in the last two months.

Police said 27 year-old Azam and his companions were returning to their home in neighbouring Hyderabad city after visiting friend in Bidar when they stopped midway and offered chocolates to local school children.

"One of then had bought chocolates from Qatar and tried to offer it to the children as a token of affection, " Bidar deputy police chief V.N. Patil said.

But one of the children started crying, alerting the elders who accused the men of being child kidnappers amid rife social media rumours about child kidnapping rings in the area, the officer said.

Patil said the three managed to flee but were attacked by a much larger mob a few kilometres ahead after locals alerted nearby villages via WhatApp.

Their car flipped after hitting a roadblock placed by the angry mob before they dragged out of the vehicle and beaten with sticks and stones. [AFP}


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