Family refuses to believe mob mistook Hyderabad techie for child lifter

The family members of Hyderabad-based techie Mohammad Azam, who was lynched by a mob at Murki village in Karnataka’s Bidar district on Friday evening refuse to believe that the attackers had mistaken him to be a child lifter.

“He was a software engineer working with Google. He looked so sophisticated and polished in his behaviour. How can anybody suspect him to be a kidnapper of children? Definitely it would not have been the reason,” Azam’s brother Mohammad Akram, a resident of Errakunta near Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad, said.

He also urged the Telangana government to take up the issue with Karnataka for a proper investigation into the incident.

“The guilty should be punished so that no other innocent loses his life in this manner,” Akram, who is also a techie, said.

He also wants the government to take serious action to stop lynching over rumours being spread through WhatsApp.

Azam’s body was laid to rest at the Shaheen Nagar graveyard near Pahadi Shareef Dargah on Saturday evening, after the post-mortem at the Osmania Hospital.

Azam’s murder was the latest in line of lynchings in several parts of India with people either beaten up or killed on suspicion of being child abductors, prompting the government to ask social media operators such as WhatsApp to clamp down on rumours.

The other injured, Mohammed Salman and Mohammed Salham-eid-al-Kubaisi, a Qatar national, who were grievously injured in the mob attack, have been shifted to Yashoda hospital in Malakpet. Their condition is stable and they are said to be out of danger. Another injured person – Noor Mohammed is undergoing treatment at Bidar.

Akram said Salham, who was working as a police official in Qatar and was in Hyderabad on a holiday, came to their house on Friday to meet Azam. “Both of them left the house at around 11.30 am without telling anybody where they were going. It was only later in the evening, when we got a call from the police that they had gone to Bidar to meet Salham’s friend,” he said.

Along with Azam and Salham, two other cousins – Mohammad Salman and Noor Mohammad also had gone along with them to Handikera near Bidar to meet Mohammad Bashir.

While returning to Hyderabad in the evening, they stopped for some refreshments at a shop near Balkut Tanda. On seeing some schoolchildren, Salham reportedly offered them chocolates, which he had brought form Qatar. However, the villagers assumed that the group to be child abductors and questioned them. It resulted in argument between them and the local villagers.

After some time, Azam and others left the place, but before they could travel much far, their photographs were circulated in a WhatsApp group, after which they were stopped on the road at Murki by a mob and attacked mercilessly, leading to Azam’s death on the spot.

Salham’s wife Zaibunnissa told the media in the hospital that there were only two policemen at the spot and they could not control the 200-strong mob.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Mohammad Balala called on the injured in the hospital and assured all possible help from the party and the Telangana government.

Updated: July 15, 2018 — 5:33 pm