In Pulicat on Wednesday a mob beat a man to death and hung him from a bridge mistaking him to be a kidnapper. This is the second incident on lynching in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, apparently triggered by the fear of children being kidnapped. An eerie calm prevailed in Pulicat on Thursday morning, and police vehicles sped past the bridge across the lake, stopping at the third post on the right side while entering from the market. The mob mistook him to be a kidnapper and 45-year-old beggar was beaten to death here. “The incident happened around 8.30 p.m. The homeless man was sleeping on the bridge when he was woken up and attacked. We heard that a few people first attacked him and, soon, others joined,” said an officer at Thirupalaivanam police station. During investigation, the police found that the man was a Tamil though the mob had raised slogans that he was a north Indian who had come to take their kids away. “We are yet to find his name. He has been in the locality for nearly two years and the same villagers have been giving him alms. We do not understand how they suddenly had a case of mistaken identity,” added a police officer. The deceased was carrying a knife so the villagers attacked the mob. “There have been rumours about a north Indian gang that has been going to the villages and kidnapping children. People are alert now. However, it was terribly wrong to have killed him,” said Sikander, a villager. A resident said no incident of kidnap has been reported in Light House panchayat and they have heard rumours that a man with knives was caught in nearby Vairavan Kuppam. Following the incident, the police held a meeting with the villagers to investigate the issue. “We have registered a case of murder and sent the body for post-mortem to Ponneri government hospital,” said an officer.