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Fake Facebook post stokes communal tension in Rudraprayag district, 3 booked

In a Facebook post, the three people claimed on Thursday evening that a Muslim boy raped a Hindu girl at Agastmuni town in the Kedarnath valley, which led to a communal flare-up. Right-wing groups took out a procession in the town shouting slogans and vandalised some shops, police said, adding that their attempt to torch more shops was foiled.

dehradun Updated: Apr 06, 2018 21:22 IST
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Facebook post,Communal tension
The shops vandalised in Agastmuni town in Rudraprayag district on Friday after a fake Facebook post triggered communal tension. (HT Photo)

Three people, including two from western Uttar Pradesh, were booked on Friday for fanning communal tensions in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, police said.

In a Facebook post, the three people claimed on Thursday evening that a Muslim boy raped a Hindu girl at Agastmuni town in the Kedarnath valley, which led to a communal flare-up. Right-wing groups took out a procession in the town shouting slogans and vandalised some shops, police said, adding that their attempt to torch more shops was foiled.

According to police officials, a post circulated on Facebook attached a picture of a couple in a compromising position.

“No rape has taken place. In fact, someone in a building clicked a picture of a couple in a compromising position, and it was dubbed as a rape incident,” Rudraprayag superintendent of police (SP) Prahlad Meena said over the phone. In a video message, Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Ghlidiyal denied that the incident involved a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl.

The police lodged an FIR against Mehkar Singh and Santu, both from Amroha in UP, and Soni Kumar from Haridwar for uploading the picture and the post on Facebook.

They have been booked under the IT Act and sections 354C and 299 of IPC. More than 10 people have been booked for rioting in the town, police said. A case has been lodged against several people, including a man called Swami Darshan Bharti, for spreading hatred against a community in the social media.

The flare-up followed recent incidents that created communal tension in the hills. In July last year, shops were torched at Satpuli town in Pauri Garhwal after a teenager updated his profile picture on Facebook that purportedly showed his shoe touching the Kedarnath shrine. The teenager was produced in a juvenile court.

In October last year, a clash between Hindus and Muslims was reported from Raiwala in Dehradun district following the recovery of a youth’s body from railway tracks.

Being neighbours, the movement of people, mostly engaged in trade, from UP to Uttarakhand and vice versa has been going on for decades. “In the name of business, no one is permitted to do nefarious things in the ‘dev bhoomi’ (abode of gods),” said Vishwa Hindu Parishad secretary Sanjay, who goes by the first name.

The opposition Congress demanded that criminals be treated as per law of the land. “It is not rocket science to understand why right-wing organisations are jumping into action everywhere ahead of the general elections,” said MD Joshi, Congress spokesperson.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 20:51 IST