Once again social media is the center of blame game for administrations during a law and order situation in the country. Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh is witnessing communal violence that has killed 26 people in the weekend. 13 of them have been killed in clashes across six villages yesterday. These killings have taken place while the state ruled by the Samajwadi Party has deployed 800 Indian Army soldiers in the areas of tension, reports NDTV.
The UP administration has stated that the violence is catching more fire due to social media and mobile messaging apps which are helping to spread misinformation and panic throughout a bloody Sunday, reports HT.
While several stories are doing the rounds on the reason behind the communal clashes, it is being said that a fake video might be the reason. The video that was being circulated, claimed to capture the killing of two men who were trying to protect a woman from being harassed. However, UP home secretary Kamal Saxena has said that the video is a two year old one and was shot in some other country.
Meanwhile the video that was shared by more than 250 people on Facebook has been blocked and a man has been booked for the fake video along with an FIR filed against BJP MLA from Sardhana, Sangeet Som. Sharing more about the violence situation, UP home secretary added that even as Muzaffarnagar is seeing some respite and curfew is being lifted in several areas, the administration has failed to have any control over rumours on online space.
“All kinds of rumours are being spread through Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. These are baseless,” said Saxena.
But there are reports that say violence broke out after a mahapanchayat was organized by members of a community in Naglabadhod. Thousands assembled at the venue demanding withdrawal of cases registered in connection with August 27 Kawal violence.
When the people were going back from the mahapanchayat, they were attacked by the members of other community ensuing heavy brick-batting leaving several injured. As the news of attack spread in other parts of the district more violence erupted. The violence that followed at many places in the town appeared to have been engineered in a planned manner.
The genesis of the violence leads back to August 27, when a boy of a community was killed by two brothers in Kawal village when the former tried to molest their sister. In retaliation, the members of the community to which the deceased belonged attacked the two youth and killed them. Since then the entire incident has formed into a tensed communal violence with opportunists joining in the heat of the moment.
#UPRiots on Twitter
I would be really surprised if incidents like this wont trend on Twitter. Hashtag #UPRiots has been trending all over the weekend. According to Topsy, a product that monitors conversations over social media, the hashtag has resulted more than 25K conversations in the last 24hours.
Some of the tweets that has been making the most buzz are listed below:
There are some pretty awful people out there trying to incite violence. But in the end, no riot will take place if admin is strong. #upriots
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 8, 2013
UP govt has blamed social media for #UPriots, never knew people check Facebook updates and tweets during Mahapanchayat.
— Faking News (@fakingnews) September 8, 2013
After presiding over riot after riot, Mulayam will join a ‘secular’ front to keep ‘communal’ forces out. Intellectuals will be mum. #UPriots
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) September 8, 2013
Sonia Gandhi is an MP from Uttar Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Uttar Pradesh. Did they utter even a word about #UPriots in 10 days?
— Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS) September 8, 2013
— SanghParivar.Org (@SanghParivarOrg) September 7, 2013
This isn’t the first time when administrations have blamed social media. We have seen the same happening whenever there are clashes in Kashmir or the last seen communal violence that occurred in the North Eastern states.
Image courtesy: Twitter