Saran protests: Social media ‘misuse’ triggers further tensions

  • Avinash Kumar, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2016 09:17 IST
Shops torched by angry protestors after clashes between two communities in Saran district on Saturday. (PTI)

Tension between two communities continues to prevail in Saran district on Saturday after obscene images of gods were posted on social networking sites on Friday.

Troublemakers in Maker, Parsa and other places misused social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook to trigger tension in Saran district on Friday.

Different Hindu organisations called a day-long bandh on Saturday. All shops, school, colleges of the remained closed, with an undeclared curfew imposed on the town.

The day began with protests leading to multiple clashes. Over two dozen persons were injured as both sides, including policemen, indulged in brick-batting. According to unconfirmed reports, people also fired and hurled petrol bombs. The injured have been admitted to different hospitals.

Police said members of both communities vandalised, broke and torched vehicles, shops in the Hathua Market, Sahebgabj and Khanua areas of Town police station. Miscreants also used petrol bombs and tried to loot jewellery shops.

In protest against the incidents, people of several localities blocked NH, main roads and railway track and disrupted road traffic for more than seven hours. Rail traffic on Chhapra- Balia and Chhapra-Gorakhpur remained paralysed for several hours.

Mob also attacked on police teams at Taraiya, Amnaur and Marhaura causing injury to several policemen. Police used mild lathicharge and fired 23 rounds of tear gas shell to disperse the mob.

Heavy police forces, including companies of RAF/ITBP/ SSB and BMP battalions, were deployed in the area to avoid recurrence of violence. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed.

Muzaffarpur zone IG Sunil Kumar, DIG Saran Ajit Roy, Saran DM and SP reached the incident site immediately after the incident while ADG ( law and order) Alok Raj visited there to take stock of situation.

Alok Raj told HT that IG (ops) Kundan Krishnan and IG (Muzaffarpur zone) are camping in Saran and police deployment has been strengthened in the area. “Those trying to vitiate the atmosphere will not be spared,” he added.

According to preliminary investigation, the clash was triggered when one community posted obscene images/ video of gods and goddesses on social media that led to an uproar on Friday and there was deep resentment among people.

Members of the other community attacked the house of the suspect who allegedly had posted the images and thrashed some of his friends. Soon the situation went out of control as people started bringing out weapons.

Saran SP Pankaj Raj said in view of the seriousness of the matter, a case under Section 67 ( A) of the Information Technology Act and Section 295 ( A) ( for hurting religious sentiments) of the IPC was registered against three named persons who posted the obscene images on social m e d i a . T wo o f them, Md Mustafa and Md Habib are in police custody. The district administration has banned internet service till August 8.

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