2017 Baduria riots
|2017 Baduria riots|
|Date||2 July 2017|
|Caused by||Facebook post by a 11 Class student|
|Methods||Protesting, rioting, rock throwing, looting, arson, mobbing|
Tensions started rising after a social media post on Islamic prophet Muhammad and Kaaba by a 17-year-old student named Souvik Sarkar of Class XI on 2 July 2017. The images were seen as objectionable and went viral in Baduria. He was later arrested. It is claimed that this violence was an outcome of local outrage of the Muslim groups, but according to some news sources and local media, villagers of Baduria, Basirhat and of its neighborhood claimed the rioters were outsiders.
Following the post made on 2 July by the school boy, a mob of an estimated 5,000 people blockaded the Baduria police station, demanding that the accused be brought before the crowd. The post also resulted in an arson attack on the accused's house. He was arrested on the evening of 3 July 2017. The Muslim religious leaders of the area tried to pacify the rioters and urged them to retreat. However, the mob continued their vandalism, demanding the accused be handed over to them.
The Baduria police station was attacked and set ablaze along with several police vehicles on the night of 3 July. A violent mob put up road blockades at several places and attacked members of other community, besides destroying many shops.
Muslim mobs set upon shops and houses belonging to Hindus in Baduria, Swarupnagar and Taki. Rath Yatras at several places were attacked. Violent clashes were triggered between the two communities of Basirhat. The Union government deployed four Border Security Force (BSF) companies containing a total of 400 personnel to check the violence in the region. Section 144 was imposed while the internet services were suspended. In retaliatory attacks on 6 July, Hindu mobs attacked a dargah and vandalised shops and houses in addition to clashing with the police.
About 25 people including 20 policemen were reported to have been injured in the violence. The house and party office of a local TMC MLA Dipendu Biswas was also set on fire by the rioters. A 65 year old died after being stabbed by the rioter mobs in the clashes while trying to return home. His son saved another villager, Fazlul Islam, whom he brought to hospital along with his father.
During this riot, while Muslim mobs attacked house of the main accused, Souvik Sarkar, Muslim neighbors were seen calling fire service and protecting his home, where leaders of the local Muslim community tried to pacify the riot which proved to be a failed attempt. Later, as sign of religious harmony, local Muslim community pooled money to help the affected Hindu neighbors targeted in this riot, and both communities joined to restore normalcy in this area.
Fake news and provocative statementsEdit
Vijeta Malik who is reported to be the Haryana State Executive Member of BJP allegedly posted a well-known scene of a Bhojpuri movie Aurat Khilona Nahi and cited it as an incident in Baduaria clashes where Hindu women were severely abused and the crowd just watched. This fake news went viral. Despite several appeals from Kolkata and West Bengal Police, sharing of fake news continued and tensions were exacerbated.
One Kolkata-based Bhabotosh Chatterjee, was arrested for sharing fake news and spreading communal hatred over the internet, and another three were held for spreading fake news via multiple social media profiles. In July, two FIRs[clarification needed] were lodged against a Delhi-based BJP leader Nupur Sharma for sharing fake news while the BJP IT cell secretary Tarun Sengupta was arrested in Asansol for posting ‘fake’ video on social media. The West Bengal Government ordered a judiciary inquiry on the fake news propaganda and the causes of the Baduria incident. While responding to a PIL[clarification needed] filed in the Calcutta High Court, the State stated that around 71 people had been arrested and a total of 86 cases had been registered with the police in this matter.
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