HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

#BanMadrasa: Hate on a hashtag

Osama Salman, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 07, 2014
First Published: 22:23 IST(7/8/2014) | Last Updated: 22:33 IST(7/8/2014)

Social media does not always delight with its variety. At times, if you look closely, behind the seeming heterogeneity lurks a rigidity that takes the innocent surfer by surprise.

Take the case of the hashtag on micoblogging website Twitter - #BanMadrasa. It started trending soon after a woman was allegedly forced to convert and later gangraped in a Madrasa in Meerut, picked up pace on Thursday and brought out an ugly side of social media.

In hate tweet after hate tweet, users kept taking jibes at different communities, demarcating one from the other, posting pictures and piling on the slander.

Oindrila Mukherjee, tweeted from her twitter handle @mukerjee0623, "when in our country have good schools then why need Madrasa so#BanMadrasa (sic)." While she may be right to hold that opinion, the replies that followed were scathing.

Vivek Kapoor (@vivek36kapoor) tweeted "@mukherjeeo623 @HDLindiaOrg bcos rape,extortion,killing,lovejihad etc main subject r not taught in school hence #BanMadarasa @goldenpeak24 (sic)."

Another user @InternetHINDU tweeted, "#BanMadrasa According to various info, students coming out of this institution are heavy in their minds with the poison of religious hatred (sic)."

The voices of reason were few and far — "People have grown older but mentality is same. Shame for those people’  #BanMadrasa (sic.)" by @mohsin_idrishi and "Why do you want to #BanMadrasa? they teach hindi too. LOL (sic)" from @MeghaAwasthi. And even those quickly shushed by tweets such as "Worst is that most of the Hindus are so sympathetic to these #Jihadi's, their tolerance is taking a toll on Bharat & its Unity #BanMadrasa (sic)" from the handle @ranganaathan and "#BanMadrasa Where muslims learn to hate all non-muslims and plot the downfall of the west! #India #Israel #sayeedawarsi (sic)," from @LigueDefJuifs

This social media war has two sides, alright, but no winners.

And the losers? Well, they would have to be respect, compassion and tolerance.

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