On Saturday 2nd May, Twitter was abuzz with rumors that a Muslim mob in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh had taken some Hindu pilgrims hostage and a Godhra like situation was developing.
Media reports suggest that there was a confrontation between the local authorities and members of a Muslim organization, which was protesting against alleged attack on some of their colleagues on an earlier day. The members of the organization, led by a local Samajwadi Party MLA are reported to have attacked train passengers too, but the situation was nowhere Godhra-like as some rumormongers imagined.
These rumors took a very ugly turn when some people spotted a hate tweet by a self-declared youth leader of BJP called Amitesh Singh. Operating as Twitter user @AmiteshSinghBJP, he posted the following tweet:
This was not only a hate tweet, but a direct call for communal violence – an act punishable under the Indian laws. Realizing his mistake, he later apologised and deleted not only his tweet, but even his Twitter account.
Amitesh Singh became the face of hate and rumor that was being spread under #GodhraAgain hashtag, but there were others too. Some users claiming to be officially associated with BJP, like Puneet Arora who is the State Co-Convener of I.T.Cell, Haryana BJP, posted the following tweet:
— Puneet Arora™ (@puneetarora82) May 2, 2015
This was clearly an incendiary tweet that was sent without verification of information. It was not criminal as the other tweet by Amitesh, but an irresponsible act that was not helping the situation on the ground.
If these Twitter users really hold these official posts in the party as claimed in their Twitter bio, BJP should take some strict action against them for spreading rumors that could have caused law and order problems in the country. Even if they have apologized, they must be suspended from the party.
This is not the first time when some junior member of a party has spread such hateful messages. A couple of years ago a Twitter user linked to Congress’ youth wing NSUI had posted the following tweet:
While these junior members acted irresponsibly, a senior leader like Omar Abdullah used this opportunity to link an event in Western Uttar Pradesh to politics in Jammu & Kashmir:
Mufti Syed’s allies call for the mass murder of Muslims. Wah Mufti Sahib, wah. pic.twitter.com/EIShoMZjev
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) May 2, 2015
Notwithstanding the politics of Omar Abdullah or similar incidents by other parties earlier, BJP here must set an example and take disciplinary actions against these Twitter users who hold official posts in the party.