Kidney hunters, eye scoopers: social media churns rumours mills

Morung Express News
Dimapur | June 6

Remember when your mother told you, sleep, or the child catcher will take you? Well, this time it’s the kidney hunter and eye scooper that is churning the rumour mills!


In the past week, social media has been abuzz with villages playing vigilante, capturing non Nagas, accusing them of attempting to scoop out kidneys and eyes.


A video message, spread through WhatsApp on June 5, showed two non Naga men sitting in the back of a police Gypsy, tied with a rope, being recorded on several phone cameras while people gathered around to take a peek. Rumour had it that “some child kidnappers/people looking for body organs were arrested by police in Zunheboto (VK area).”


The SP of Zunheboto late Tuesday night confirmed that “no such person was arrested nor found. Only one non-local ayurvedic doctor was arrested on June 4 for not possessing ILP documents and possessing fake ID card. No instance of child kidnapping or ‘body organ thieves’ has been found.”


Similar yarns are spreading quickly with people not waiting to confirm details before passing it on. Free internet, free information, free of responsibility.


On June 1, for instance, panic messages were spread that three “non locals” were attempting to drug people with “illegal” substances in Mezoma. It was later clarified through another message that the villager had only “handed over the 4(four) persons to Zubza PS for further interrogation for confirmation of the said persons character” and rumours spreading on social media were “over exaggerated and false.” Nothing untoward was found.


On June 5, unsubstantiated messages again spread that 500 people from a mainland Indian state were attempting to enter people’s homes to “cut their kidney and eyes,” warning people to be careful.


On June 6, “a man in woman clothing” was caught in Newsite, Mon Town, after being suspected of being “one of the child kidnappers who were recently caught in Nagaland.”


The Mon Town Police today confirmed that a family of four – wife, husband and two children – were apprehended by the people in Mon Town who suspected them of trying to extract human organs. The police took the family into custody.


“We are enquiring and examining the matter but there is no reason to suspect them as such,” stated the Sub Inspector Tazom Konyak, of the Mon Town PS. “If we don’t find anything, we will release them tomorrow,” he maintained.


But the rumours have the police worried that they may lead to dire consequences.


“It is not so easy to extract organs. It is good to be wary but rumours can be dangerous. We request people not to spread such messages without ascertaining the facts,” stated Konyak.