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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Facebook posts trigger tension in three states

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh), July 31, 2014
First Published: 19:57 IST(31/7/2014) | Last Updated: 21:28 IST(31/7/2014)

Inflammatory Facebook posts have become the trigger for several recent incidents of communal violence in various parts of the country in the backdrop of a series of bloody religious clashes.

Only on Wednesday night, tension gripped Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district following violent protests triggered by a Facebook post that showed objectionable sketches next to the photo of a minority community's shrine.

Additional security was deployed and prohibitory orders under Section 144 were clamped in the district after an unconfirmed report of a man being stabbed to death during the protests. At least six people including a policeman were also injured as stones were thrown during the protest late Wednesday.

The Facebook post was allegedly shared from the profile of Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Khandwa municipality president Amar Yadav who, however, denied his involvement, claiming a fake profile was created on the social media platform under his name.

The police had recently arrested a man in Rajasthan for sharing a morphed photograph of the minority community's pilgrimage site on mobile application WhatsApp. The accused later revealed he received the objectionable image from a WhatsApp contact in Chhattisgarh.

In Uttarakhand, a youth was arrested in Udham Singh Nagar and sent to jail on Tuesday for posting and tagging people in an objectionable picture which was directed at a particular community. The picture was related to communal clashes in Saharanpur city of Uttar Pradesh, triggered by a land dispute between Muslims and Sikhs Saturday. Three people had been killed and many injured in the clashes.

These incidents involving Facebook posts have occurred in the backdrop of religious clashes in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in the past week.

Communal tension loomed large on Thursday in Ranchi, where Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal had called a bandh to protest against firing on clashing mobs in Silgai, 55km from the capital, on Tuesday.

Many families have fled the area after the Tuesday's incident in which one person was killed when the police fired shots to control two groups clashing over a piece of land.

In Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur, a land dispute recently triggered a violent clash between Sikhs and Muslims, leaving two people dead and a dozen injured.
The clashes were the fourth incident of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh this year. Almost a year ago, protests in Muzaffarnagar, in western UP, left 63 dead and over 50,000 homeless.

(With inputs from Lucknow, Dehradun and Jaipur)


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