An elderly beggar woman was killed and three other people were injured in separate incidents of mob beating in the city on Saturday night and yesterday following a rumour of child-lifting.
Chittagong SP ZA Morshed told The Daily Star that five suspected child-lifters have also been killed in such incidents in the district since August 01.
Sources said the rumour is that child-lifters are taking away children for collecting cut off heads for the newly built third Karnaphuli Bridge.
As panic gripped the people following the rumour, police yesterday requested all mosque authorities start miking from mosques, and the law enforcers held meetings with local ward councillors to aware people.
Officer in-charge (OC) Rezaul Karim of the police said some people suddenly started beating the unidentified woman, when she was begging at Bandartila 50, around 9.00pm on Saturday following a rumour that she had five cut off heads in her bag.
In another incident, a group of muggers took away Tk 5,000 and mobile phone set from a trader Khalil Uddin Razu at Bohoddarhat Intersection around 9:15pm on Saturday. Later, the criminals started shouting termed Khalil "child-lifter." Hundreds of people joined them and beat Khalil.
When police rushed there, the mob barred them resulting in a clash that left 30 people, including cops injured. They also blocked the intersection and attacked Chandgaon Police Station and damaged a police vehicle, police said.
A group of people went to the police station early yesterday saying that Khalil had five cut off head and those have been kept at the police station, said OC Omar Faruk.
Five people were arrested and a case was filed in this connection accusing the arrestees and two thousand unidentified persons, he said.
Yet in another incident, people also beat up Mohammad Ali, 19, at Rajakhali under Bakolia Police Station on Saturday night suspecting him as a child-lifter. Later, police rescued him.
Around 12.00noon yesterday, a rickshaw-puller was also beaten up by locals at the city's Chhotopole as his passenger Selina Akter, a resident of CDA Residential area, asked him to catch Miraj as the boy fled her house in the morning.