What role Facebook played in Muzaffarnagar Communal riots?

A story:

A Lawyer went to a village. There he saw a “Kolhu” (Oil presser). The kolhu was being rotated by an ox. While the ox, with a bell in its neck, was taking rounds; its master was sleeping in the shade of a tree nearby.

The lawyer rattled by the scene, went to the sleeping villager, took him out of his sleep and asked him a sharp question: You are sleeping here, how will you know the ox is actually walking?

To this the villager replied: Though my eyes are closed, I’m listening to the sound of the bell in the Ox’s neck.

To this the lawyer asked: What if the ox stops walking and simply starts shaking its head?

To this the villager said: My ox has not become a Lawyer yet.

Why I shared this story? As it’s not always necessary to act a lawyer. Especially when truth speaks for self.

Today, the web is buzzing with the reports and analysis as to what caused the Muzaffarnagar communal riots. The  Nation’s PM and his party, the Congress, feel that the rumors circulated through social networks like Facebook and Twitter played an important role in the riots. In focus, is a Youtube video, uploaded two years ago, shot in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in which a mob is lynching two teenage boys. The said video incorrectly captioned and described as one from Muzaffarnagar, was shared by a BJP MLA,  just before the Muzaffarnagar communal riots and it went viral on Facebook.

That apart, some reports also suggest that a BJP MLA created the CDs of the said YouTube video and distributed it in the controversial Maha Panchayat.

Now, to be honest, the PM and his party’s stand on the issue is too simplistic. If malicious Facebook posts were instigating people to riot, then why the governments at Uttar Pradesh and Centre didn’t try to manage the situation? Why did the UP administration, in the very first place, allow the Maha Panchayat? So blaming everything on Facebook is not correct.

Further, those who see Facebook as a holy cow (BJP and its supporters), having no role to play at all, need to think about their stand as well. It may be true that a Facebook video may not instigate that many people, so as to cause riots. But it surely shows the intent.  Why did a BJP MLA share such a contentious video? The said MLA may or may not have caused Muzaffarnagar communal riots, but he surely had the intention to do so.

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