Narendra Modi's silence criticised on social media, as people seek his intervention
Pratap Vikram Singh | June 6, 2014
It's nearly four days since a 24-year-old was killed in Pune, allegedly by members of radical right-wing outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), over a Facebook post with morphed pictures of Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. But the complete silence of prime minister Narendra Modi on the issue, even as the BJP's Lok Sabha MP from Pune, Anil Shirole, appeared to condone it, is baffling for many on social media.
Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, an IT professional, was beaten to death on Monday night by members of HRS, leading to the arrest of several members of the outfit. Shaikh was reportedly assaulted near his home in Bankar Colony, Hadaspur, while he was returning with his flatmate Riyaz.
Riyaz claimed that Shaikh was targeted because he was wearing a skull cap and had a beard.
Even as the nation came to grips with the riotous scenes and the murder, Shirole remarked, "What appeared on Facebook was very painful. Some amount of repercussions was natural," as good as condoning the fatal attack on Shaikh.
But PM Narendra Modi, otherwise uber-active on social media, is yet to react. Many netizens are now demanding his intervention. Many social media users have also expressed their discomfort towards the media over the late reporting of the incidents that took place in many parts of Pune.
The city had witnessed communal tensions after derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Bal Thackeray were uploaded on Facebook and circulated through WhatsApp on Saturday. More than 200 public transport buses and private vehicles were damaged over the weekend and incidents of stone-pelting and violence were reported.
"Astonishing. Modi tweets about saris and saplings but hasn't condemned UP and Pune murders. And they blamed Manmohan for being silent!" tweeted Mumbai-based journalist Naresh Fernandes on Friday morning.
“Doesnt @PMOIndia have a duty to condemn hate crime by terror group HRS against Indian citizen? (SIC)” asked Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and politbureau member of the CPI(ML), on twitter.
@KaneezOfPoetry tweeted, “PM's silence on #Mohsin's murder isn’t only questionable but also obscene. @PMOIndia must condemn, ban #HinduRashtraSena Set TheRecord Straight.”
“Barely 10 days after BJP-led government has assumed power that fundamentalist organisations such as Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have started spewing venom. If he (Modi) fails to reign upon these elements it will be unfortunate,” said Abhishek Singh while commenting on a report by The Hindu on Facebook.
“Being put in prison for raising your opinions via web is not enough. Be ready to be brutally murdered now (sic),” said another netizen on Twitter.
“Did 24 year old Mohsin Sadiq Sheikh deserve to die because he looked like this? RIP (SIC),” said another netizen on Twitter. “Very very, sad news! Hinduism is all about tolerance, non violence! (SIC)” Priyadarshan Sharma commented on Facebook.
Hindu Rashtra Sena is headed by Dhanjay Desai, a history-sheeter who has been named in 23 cases of extortion, rioting and other criminal offences.
So far, the police have arrested 14 members of the HRS. Desai, too, is in jail, but reportedly regarding another case.
This is not the first time that communal violence incited through morphed images and videos on the internet have lead to loss of life and property. The Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 were fueled through circulation of a video shot in Pakistan to incite Hindus against Muslims. The riots resulted in about 60 deaths leaving several injured. In August 2012, in the aftermath of Assam violence, fake SMSs and messages were circulated on the social media which instigated a mass exodus of people from the north-east in Bangalore and Pune.
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