Moradabad city was tense on Sunday after members of the Muslim community, angered by an objectionable post on WhatsApp, lobbed stones at a police station and reportedly manhandled some policemen.
Police said a Hindu youngster from Nagfani area sent an objectionable image to a Muslim via WhatsApp on Saturday. The recipient downloaded the image and found it “seriously objectionable”. He then informed other Muslims about the post.
Several members of the Muslim community, angered by the WhatsApp post, trooped to Nagfani police station late on Saturday and demanded the immediate arrest of people involved in transmitting the image. Police assured them that those involved in the incident would be arrested soon.
However, this failed to pacify the angry crowd and some people hurled stones at the police station and reportedly manhandled some policemen.
As news of the objectionable WhatsApp post spread, members of the Muslim community also gathered at Mughalpura police station and ‘gheraoed’ it. Police said the crowd also torched a motorcycle parked outside Nagfani police station.
Brickbats on a Moradabad street. (HT Photo)
The local administration deployed a substantial police force in the area and drove away the crowd. They also succeeded in preventing a clash, officials said.
Officials described the situation in Moradabad as "tense but completely under control". Intelligence agencies had been put on high alert, they said. Once accused has been arrested and will be produced in court on Monday, police said.
The Muslims contended that the objectionable image was circulated to hurt the community’s religious sentiments during the holy month of Ramzan.
District magistrate Deepak Agarwal said, "Police have registered a case in this connection. A team of IT experts has been deployed to identify the accused. Once we arrest the accused, strict action will be ensured against him by imposing National Security Act (NSA)."
Superintendent of police (city) Ram Suresh said, "The situation is completely under control. Police are on high alert."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC Jaipal Singh Vyast, who belongs to Moradabad, condemned the incident. He said strict action should be ensured against the accused who tried to breach the peace of the city. He said efforts should be made to check the misuse of WhatsApp.