Five people were on Sunday lynched by a mob in Maharashtra’s Dhule district over suspicion that they were part of a gang of “child lifters”, police said.
The incident took place at Rainpada, 25 kilometres from Pimpalner in Dhule district, around 11.30 am, officials said.
The five, along with a few others, were seen getting down from a state transport bus in the tribal-dominated Rainpada hamlet, police said.
When one of them apparently tried to speak to a girl child, the villagers, who had gathered for the weekly Sunday market, pounced on them, they said.
An official at the Pimpalner police station said that the five people died after being assaulted. Their identities have not been established yet.
Two policemen were also injured in the incident, he added.
Fifteen people have been taken into custody in connection with the incident, police said.
The bodies have been shifted to the rural hospital in Pimpalner and police teams were maintaining a vigil in the Rainpada area under the supervision of Inspector General (Nashik range) Chhering Dorje and other senior officers, an official said.
According to police, rumours that a gang of child lifters was active in the area were doing the rounds for a few days.
Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar has appealed to people not to believe in rumours being circulated on social media.