Social Media Battles Between Individuals Spark Off Communal Tensions In Gujarat Towns - Vibes Of India

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Social Media Battles Between Individuals Spark Off Communal Tensions In Gujarat Towns

| Updated: February 2, 2022 16:31

Days after a youth was shot dead for an allegedly incendiary Facebook story against Muslims in Ahmedabad district’s Dhandhuka town galvanizing the BJP-ruled State Government into action, at least two similar incidents involving social media posts have added fuel to an already communally tense situation in Gujarat.

In an incident in Rajkot on the night of January 28, a group of 25 people had allegedly attempted to assault five persons of another community demanding that a provocative communal post on Instagram be removed forthwith. A post by a youth, Vinay Dodiya of Rajkot, had sparked off a controversy with some persons from the Muslim community objecting to it and allegedly threatening him with dire consequences if it was not deleted.

Police sources claimed that in the name of striking a compromise Dodiya was called at a particular place where he went with four others. On seeing a group of around 25 people, they suspected trouble and escaped. However, the group completely smashed a motorcycle belonging to a friend of Dodiya.

The police have started investigations based on the grabs in the CCTV cameras installed in the area. According to a representation made by Dodiya before the Rajkot Police Commissioner, a person identified as Irshad Sandhi had messaged him to delete the post about Lord Krishna that he had uploaded on Instagram but he didn’t remove it. Subsequently, he was called to strike a compromise.

Dodiya told the Police Commissioner that Irshad had abused him and Lord Krishna and asked him to delete the post immediately. He had also allegedly threatened to kill him if he did not remove the post.    

In another incident in Petlad town in central Gujarat’s Anand district, an argument between two persons over a whatsapp message created tensions in the area. The police have lodged a complaint against both the youngsters in the case.

A youth in Petlad had put a photo of Lord Krishna as his display picture (DP) on Whatsapp. Angry over this, a Muslim contact of his raised an objection and allegedly threatened to kill him if he did not remove it. They picked up a fight and exchanged angry audio messages.

While the Hindu youth told him he could put whatever he wished on his phone and that he could delete him from his contacts list if it hurt him, the other person threatened him if he did not delete it. After a few more messages, he was warned that he would have to face consequences if the DP was not changed.    

Meanwhile, yet another Muslim cleric was on Sunday arrested from Delhi by the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad in connection with murder of a man in Dhandhuka town on January 25 over an alleged objectionable Facebook post that the accused claimed hurt their religious sentiments.

Kishan Boliya was shot dead by motorcycle-borne men on January 25 in retaliation for a Facebook post he had shared on January 6, for which some Muslim community members had filed a police complaint claiming it hurt their religious sentiments.

ATS officials said Maulvi Kamargani Usmani was arrested from Delhi, and he is the second cleric to be held in the case after Mohammad Ayub Javrawala, who was nabbed from Ahmedabad on Friday.

ATS Superintendent of Police Imtiaz Shaikh told reporters that Shabbir Chopda, who had shot dead Boliya, was in touch with Usmani through social media platform Instagram, adding that the arrested cleric ran a social organisation and instigated youth from the community to take action against those who insult Prophet Mohammad.

Chopda (25) and Imtiaz Pathan (27) were held on Friday along with Javrawala, who allegedly instigated the two to commit the crime and also arranged for the murder weapon.

Usmani had directed Chopda to get in touch with Javrawala for action against Boliya, the ATS SP said, adding that the two clerics were in touch with each other. The Gujarat ATS began their probe into the case on Saturday.

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