In wake of the rise in child lifting rumours across India, several Kashmir based social media platforms are sharing a video claiming to show four non-locals who were held after an alleged attempt to kidnap children in Lar area of Ganderbal in Kashmir. Newschecker has found that the claim is false.
Facebook page JK live was among the pages that shared the video with the caption “In a Shocking incident villagers in Ganderbal captured 4 non locals who were attempting to kidnap children in a car. Police team reached the spot, arrested all 4 and seized their vehicle also. #Kashmir
Increase In Misinformation Surrounding Child theft
The number of claims on WhatsApp and social media alleging child theft/kidnap children has seen a spike in the recent days. In Maharashtra’s Sangli, a group of sadhus who were travelling to Pandharpur were stopped and assaulted by locals on suspicion of being child lifters.
A group of sadhus who were seeking alms in UP’s Indrawar were suspected to be child lifters by local villagers and handed over to the police. Several users later shared the video of the men in police custody with false allegation that they were trying to kidnap children and selling their organs.
Scripted videos showing men kidnap children have also seen a rise in the recent past, with many of them being shared as authentic, triggering panic and concern among netizens.
Fact Check/ Verification
Newschecker began investigating the claim by conducting a google search with keywords ‘non-locals kidnap children in Ganderbal’ and found several reports denying the claim. You can read them here, here, here and here
One such report by the local daily Greater Kashmir reported that the police refuted the claim of non-locals being caught kidnapping children in Ganderbal.
“Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday refuted reports claiming kidnapping of a minor child by some unknown non-locals in Yanihama locality of Lar in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district” the report read. According to the report the non-locals held were begging in the area and were neither involved in kidnapping or theft.
Speaking to the media, Nikhil Borkar, SSP Ganderbal, said that the group was visiting from Punjab and going from home-to-home seeking alms when locals suspected them of being child kidnappers.
“We rushed to the spot after we received the information and took 4 people into custody. During the investigation we found that these men beg for a living. Eyewitness told us that they did not make any attempt to kidnap any children, and that they just asked for water and rice. We also called the owner of the house which they visited who denied any act of kidnapping. Panic was created only after some social media platforms began circulating the video. We request all social media users to verify the cases which have a criminal angle with the police before sharing it” the SSP said.
Police also warned social media users from circulating fake news that non-locals were trying to kidnap children. “Whosoever shall be involved in circulating such fake and baseless news shall be held under relevant sections of law,” the Ganderbal police said on the official twitter handle of district police.
We also reached out to local journalist Firdous Ahmad Khan who confirmed that the non locals apprehended were not child lifters, but beggars.
“The non-locals approached a homeowner asking if they wanted his fortune told. The house owner asked them to leave the premises. As they were leaving, local residents gathered around, suspecting them of kidnapping children and started beating them. Some locals informed the police,” Firdous clarified.
Newschecker investigation revealed that the news of non-locals allegedly attempting to kidnap children in J&K’s Ganderbal is false.
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