The local crime branch on Sunday arrested one more person in connection with the lynching in Dhule district, taking the number of arrests to 26. Officers at Pimpalner police station, Dhule, confirmed the arrest, and said details are awaited.

On Wednesday, Maharu Pawar and Hiralal Gawli, both residents of Rainpada, were arrested in the neighbouring district of Nandurbar. Both are seen in a video assaulting the victims with iron rods and sticks.

The victims, Bharat Shankar Bhosale (45), his brother Dadarao Bhosale (45), Raju Bhosale (45), Bharat Malwe (47), and Anagu Ingole (22) — all from Solapur’s Mangalvedhe tehsil — were beaten to death in the tribal hamlet of Rainpada on July 1 by a mob of 4,000 on the suspicion of being child-lifters. All five were members of the nomadic Nath Gosavi community, who had been on the road for over six months before they reached Rainpada.

Disturbing clips of the incident have surfaced showing even minors participating in the murderous act.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has expressed grief over the lynching and demanded stronger measures by social media platforms to check the spread of false messages and posts.

“Modern means of communication are for sharing information and knowledge, and ought to be used judiciously. It is indeed sad that five people lost their lives only because of rumours,” he said in Mumbai.

The CM further said the case will be fast-tracked, and a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh will be paid to the kin of each victim.

Superintendent of Police (cyber cell) Balsing Rajput has warned that anyone found spreading rumours on social media with an aim to create tension among people, communities or religions could face action under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act.

“If the lynching incident is like the one in Dhule, the accused will be charged with murder under IPC Section 302,” he said.

With PTI inputs

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