Instances When Social Media Went Out Of Proportion to Fuel Communal Violence

Arya Sharan

Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social media sites have unknowingly become an indispensable part of our lives. It is hard to even imagine a day in our life without any one of them. That’s the effect they have on us, no matter positive or negative.

But in recent past, a lot of cases have been discovered where social media is being used to provoke people with hatred during some minor communal conflicts which when instigated turn into large upheavals.


Pune Muslim Techie Fell Pray to Communal Hatred, Maharashtra


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In June 2014, Maharashtra and the adjoining areas suffered communal violence which led to hate crimes and a Muslim Man was unreasonably killed by the angry mob. And to be precise the origin of this dispute was a malevolent Facebook post, where a picture of two ‘Hindu’ kings was morphed to show them in an offensive way. After an untamed circulation over the sites, the picture finally reached enough people to create sufficient anger and hatred as required to start violence.

This wasn't the first time social media was used as a pawn for communal abhorrence communication with a motto to create and propagate violence.


Muslims Vs Bodos, Conflict in Assam


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In July 2012, during violence in Assam between indigenous Bodos and Muslims, images were circulated on the social media, fanning panic resulting in the mass departure of lakhs of northeastern citizens to their home states from different parts of the country.


Muzaffarnagar Riots, Uttar Pradesh


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Also during the infamous Muzaffarnagar riots, as the Uttar Pradesh Police proclaims, a controversial video clip that reportedly showed the lynching of two Hindu Jat boys was circulated which was responsible for fanning the riots in Muzaffarnagar. But the footage was found to be actually two years old and from Pakistan, the police said.


Now let’s see what actually happens out there:


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  • The concept “rumour” is perceived as coming from one or more people information statement about some events that are not officially confirmed and it is conveyed orally or in the written form through the new age media from one person to another.
  • Rumours deal with important issues or topics for particular social groups, communicate its requirements and benefits.
  • Awareness regarding reality and duplication of heard information are caused by disappointment from the already established news and their expectation for being satisfied.
  • Spreading rumour is a consequence of combined conception and communal effort to clarify intricate and sensitive situations.


How do we stop this:


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  • Media has a responsibility for it and it needs to understand what kind of influence it has on the people and hence act accordingly.
  • Whenever we forward a message or share a post on Facebook, yes under Freedom Of Expression, we are entitled to say and support whatever entertains our interest but we must try to cross check any information that we are putting on the public platform.
  • Yes, the internet is a beautiful place that satisfies our thirst for knowledge and distracts us from the reality for good but we must understand that not everything we read on the Internet is true.
  • Stay educated and aware of the intricacies of society and think before you act on any information you see on the social arena.

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