By Mayank Jain:
The News: Morphed pictures of the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackerey and Chhatrapati Shivaji started doing rounds on Facebook last week from a page with over 50,000 fans and they were re-shared over WhatsApp groups. This propelled an angry mob in Pune to go on a run riot.
The city was filled with protests and violence from the mob which resulted in the killing of a Muslim IT professional who had no relation to the pictures; was allegedly killed by members of a radical Hindu outfit active in the state.
The victim has been identified as Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a 24-year-old from Solapur district, who worked as an IT manager with a firm in Pune. He is said to have been beaten to death by the mob while he was returning home from offering Namaz with his friend Riyaz. Riyaz,who was with him when the attack took place, has said, “Mohsin was targeted because he was wearing a skull cap and a beard.”
Two other people aged 25 have been injured in the incident. The police has blocked many areas and peace committee meetings are being held in areas of Hadapsar and Pune to keep the situation under control. The protests however, don’t seem to die down amid the rumours of desecration of a statue of Shivaji, and a girl being raped by men of a different community made rounds and protestors took to the streets.
An attempt was also made by the protestors to burn a bakery.
Police has arrested over 130 people in the last four days for rioting. Meanwhile, police has also arrested 13 members of the outfit Rashtra Hindu Sena, said joint commissioner of police.
Rashtra Hindu Sena is not a well-known organization but it is known for its extremist right wing views and the attack it carried out against a Marathi news channel.
The opinion: The violent agitations over posts circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp, while the owner of the page is still unknown, is going a bit too far to show anger. The right wing extremists should consider the larger impact on the region as a whole and the lives people lose in these incidents before taking to violence. A judicial system in the country is already in place which should be left to do its job since an FIR has already been registered against the unknown owner of the page. On the other hand, the incident has also brought the potential of social media to incite communal hatred to light. Facebook has removed the page but the owner is still being located. However, mob justice should not be rendered to those who had nothing to do with the incident or violence, whatsoever.
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