Woman and her daughters thrashed for kidnapping infant


Team Udayavani, May 22, 2018, 5:33 PM IST

Hubballi/Bengaluru: A woman and her two teenaged daughters were thrashed by her neighbours for allegedly kidnapping a nine month old baby to practice. The incident took place at Vajpayee Nagar here on Monday. The Hubballi Rural police have registered a case and arrested Shantamma and her two daughters, aged 16 and 18.

Manjunath Barker and Rekha, a couple with three children, had shifted to the locality five months ago. Shantamma and her daughters had gotten close to the couple and had allegedly kidnapped the boy on April 29. The woman took the baby to Bengaluru where he was allegedly subject to black magic. The couple wrote in the complaint that the infant had sustained injuries in his neck due to the black magic. They had rushed to Bengaluru to rescue the child and bring Shantamma to the locality.

Police informed that the accused had presented another version of the story. She said that she loved the infant and had taken him to Shiggaon for a ceremony after seeking permission from his parents. Later, a driver known to Shantamma had asked her and her daughters to accompany him to Bengaluru. The infant was injured when the truck driver had applied the brake while on the way to Bengaluru. They had admitted the boy to a hospital in Bengaluru and informed his parents.

This incident assumes significance since the circulation of a WhatsApp video showing children, abducted by out-of-state child thieves, being killed and their parts chopped off. It has created panic in more than six districts and in certain villages; lathi-weilding men are guarding lanes at night to prevent such incidents of ‘child-theft’. There have been reports of some of these vigilantes thrashing beggars, homeless and mentally challenged individuals, suspecting them of being ‘child-lifters’.

Though police have verified that the video is fake, it continues to be circulated in Raichur, Yadgiri, Koppal and Chikkaballapur districts. On May 16 in Raichur, a mob beat up a woman based on the suspicion that she was one of the ‘child thieves’. It was later discovered that the woman was mentally challenged and had no such motives. Police have arrested six men for thrashing the woman. Maids from other states are also at danger since most of them do not know Kannada and there are high chances of people suspecting them of being child thieves.

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