Cultural and religious intolerance continued to bully and browbeat its way across India, touching down in the Kashmir Valley and Uttar Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh down south.
The southern state saw a trade-off of hate speeches as Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia rebutted arrested Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi in Adilabad district.
In Srinagar, a member of the now disbanded all-girl rock group Praagaash left for Bangalore on Tuesday even as the police lodged an FIR against anonymous persons for issuing online abuse and rape threats to the girls.
And in Agra, police arrested a man for allegedly posting ‘indecent’ cartoons of political leaders — including PM Manmohan Singh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and union minister Kapil Sibal — on the net.
Togadia’s allegedly inflammatory speech was made on February 1 in the same district where Owaisi had issued a veiled threat of violence against Hindus on December 22. A video of the Sangh leader’s comments has gone viral and the police are verifying it before registering a case.
The Agra incident was a virtual repeat of what happened in Mamata Banerjee's West Bengal.
Sanjay Chaudhary, head of a prominent public school, was arrested Monday, his laptop seized and his Facebook account deactivated. He denied posting any offensive comments or sketches but Agra SSP Subhash Chandra Dubey said, "We had inputs that Chaudhary had posted objectionable comments about a particular religion on his FB page. We seized his laptop and found the allegations to be true."
Chaudhary's bail hearing comes up on Wednesday.
In Jammu, grand priest Mufti Bashir-ud-Din welcomed the decision of the three girls to disband under threat of his fatwa and the online hate campaign. Unaffected by the massive outpouring of support for the girls, he said, "This is in the interest of Islam. I appreciate the understanding of it by the girls as well as their parents and society who have backed my statement to stop the blasphemous activity."
"Kashmir is not a place for music. If anyone wants to learn music, they have to go out," one band member said.
Meanwhile, the cyber cell has joined hands with the police to zero in on those behind the online campaign.
"We hope for a breakthrough soon," said one officer.