Tweeting up tension: Frenetic focus on Assam, Burma | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Tweeting up tension: Frenetic focus on Assam, Burma

Typing 140 characters is enough to 'tweet up' tension. News related to the violence in Assam and Myanmar involving Muslims has been spreading incessantly on social media sites, posing a new challenge to India's fragile harmony.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2012 00:09 IST

Typing 140 characters is enough to 'tweet up' tension. News related to the violence in Assam and Myanmar involving Muslims has been spreading incessantly on social media sites, posing a new challenge to India's fragile harmony.

For better or for worse, young Muslim users have been sharply focusing on the violence between Assam's Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers, igniting concerns in the community.

"This could stoke anger and backlash," Nazeeb Zaidi, a blogger who runs a Google "group" of NRI Muslims, told HT.

A Facebook page, purportedly associated with the right-wing RSS, accessed by HT on Thursday, also featured several unwholesome comments from users.

And then there are some like Rashid (name changes on request), a PhD scholar from JNU, who closely scans news stories on Assam and posts them on a Google group.

"I do this responsibly to create awareness, not to rouse passions," he claimed.

A member of the Mumbai-based Raza Academy that staged Sunday's protests in that city, requesting anonymity, said the organisation wanted to highlight the news media's "indifference".

He said he "regretted" the violence that followed.

"The media do suffer from ignorance, but I don't agree that media have not paid attention to Muslim issues," said Ather Farouqui, scholar and author of Muslims and Media Images.

Indiscriminate text messages, posts and tweets have added to the tension, prompting students from the North-East to flee Bangalore.

A group of MPs from northeastern states met Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday.

"The home minister has promised all help in allaying the fears of the Northeast people in cities such as Bangalore," said Biren Baishya, general secretary of the Northeast MPs' Forum.