New Delhi - At least two men were killed and six injured after mobs attacked them in India's remote north-eastern state of Tripura in the latest of several murders linked to rumours on social media, police said Friday.
Rumours have been circulating in Tripura about a criminal gang that kidnaps children in order to harvest their organs since an 11-year old boy was found murdered late Tuesday, broadcaster NDTV reported.
In the first lynching incident, a man was killed and three others were injured in the district of West Tripura on Thursday when a large mob of villagers attacked them on suspicion of kidnapping children.
"Three small traders, all outsiders from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, had reached the village in a car when they were brutally beaten by villagers. One of them died on the spot," district official Sandeep Mahatme said.
Police opened fire and used tear gas to disperse the mob. Authorities suspended smartphone services in the region to prevent rumour-mongering.
Two traders and the driver were transported to hospital in critical condition.
In another incident in south Tripura, a mob killed a 33-year-old man hired by the state government to spread awareness on the topic of rumour-mongering, area police chief ND Burman said. Three police officers were injured in the incident.
Social media-fuelled hysteria about gangs kidnapping children has claimed several lives across India. Two similar murders were reported from the neighbouring state of Assam earlier this month. Six people were lynched by mobs in southern India last month.