Two more men were beaten to death by mobs in India's northeastern state of Assam on suspicions of that they kidnapped children, in the latest of several killings fueled by social media rumors, police said Saturday.
The men from state capital Guwahati were traveling on holiday in the remote Karbi Anglong district late Friday night when they were confronted by a mob of some 300 villagers.
"The villagers, [who] suspected them to be child lifters, surrounded their SUV, dragged them out and started thrashing them," district police chief, V Siva Prasad Ganjala, said by phone. "One died on the scene, the other succumbed to his injuries later."
Footage of the lynching - captured by locals on their mobiles - shows the two men, aged between 25 to 30 years - pleading with their attackers to let them go and insisting that they were not criminals.
Ganjala said there had been no incidents of kidnapping or child trafficking in the area, but rumors that kidnappers were operating in the region had circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook in recent days.
Police registered a case of murder but had so far made no arrests.
Friday's killings came after six people were lynched by mobs in distant southern India last month following similar rumors about "child kidnapping gangs."
Police urged people against falling prey to rumors after a 52-year-old transgender woman was beaten to death in the southern city of Hyderabad at the end of May. She was also suspected child kidnapping.
A 42-year-old man was beaten to death in Nizamabad district, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Hyderabad, after a mob accused him as well of being a child kidnapper.
Authorities said the false messages that were being spread widely had led to mass panic, with mobs attacking beggars and strangers.
A dozen people have been arrested for circulating the videos, which show men hoisting a child from outside a home and mutilating an infant.
Police said most of the victims were not from the localities where they were killed.
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