A child safety video depicting a fake child kidnapping has sparked incidents of violence and h ysteria in India after it was mistaken for an actual footage of a crime.
Clips of what was originally a Pakistani social experiment were edited in a video that made it appear like a real kidnapping, according to the BBC.
In the widely shared controversial footage, two men on a motorbike are seen approaching a group of children on the street. One of the men grabs one child before speeding away.
The original video, however, ended with the motorcycle returning the child and unfurling a banner which reads, “It takes only a moment to kidnap a child from the streets of Karachi.”
The last part of the now-viral WhatsApp video in India was edited out, causing panic and confusion among locals.
The edited video also sparked the proliferation of messages alleging the arrival of 200 kidnappers in Bangalore. The unfounded warnings, which spread like wildfire, claimed that “the kidnappers said summer holidays is a best time. Please be watchful and take care of your kids.”
Even regional news contributed to the hysteria brought by the fake video, with news reports claiming around 5,000 kidnappers entered Southern India. Believing the clip was an evidence of rising kidnapping cases in the country, some took the law into their own hands and resorted to attacking strangers out of fear.
Kaalu Ram, who came to Bangalore looking for work, died after an angry mob mistook him for a kidnapper and decided to beat him to death.
Footage of the violent attack showed the victim all tied up as he was dragged and beaten by locals. He died on his way to the hospital. It was not reported whether anyone was charged for his murder.
The Bangalore police are now trying to dispel the rumors of the rising number of kidnapping gangs through warnings on social media.