The Madhya Pradesh Police have arrested five persons on the charge of thrashing three persons, including two local Congress leaders, on July 26 night on the suspicion of being child-lifters. Armed with lathis, 20 residents of Nawal Singhana village, 35 km from Betul town, blocked a road towards Shahpur, waiting for a vehicle approaching from the Chicholi police station area, said Karthikeyan K., Betul Superintendent of Police. “They mistook its three occupants for child-lifters and started attacking them. But, when they realised they were local leaders, they ran away,” he said. Betul district Congress general secretary Dharmendra Shukla, party leader Dharmu Singh Lanjiwar and tribal leader Lalit Baraskar suffered minor injuries, while their vehicle was damaged.Later, they filed a complaint in the Shahpur police station, on which the police registered a case under sections 147 [Punishment for rioting] and 323 [Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt] of the Indian Penal Code. Five persons are yet to be arrested. The police suspect a viral video of a child-lifter at the Itarsi railway station, 90 km from Betul, to be the trigger. “The video is doing rounds in Betul, Harda and Hoshangabad districts. Although the immediate trigger of the incident is not yet known, it occurred after the video became viral,” said Mr. Karthikeyan. To arrest the growing trend of attacking persons on the suspicion of being child-lifters, the Betul police has begun organising jansamvad programmes with residents of five villages at a time. “We tell them to use the dial-100 facility in case they are suspicious of anyone and not take the law in their own hands. Now, we have started getting more calls, especially between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m..,” said Mr. Karthikeyan. Responding to a call, a dial-100 vehicle visits the spot to ascertain whether the person in question is a child-lifter or not. “Though it may increasing our workload, it is an effective way to control the situation,”he said. The Shahpur police station received 10-15 calls relating to child-lifters every day, the most in the district, he added.