A Hindu boy has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police for putting a ‘blasphemous’ post on Facebook after an enraged mob demanded so. A strong Muslim mob had surrounded the Khiwai police station in Suroorpur, Meerut on Sunday afternoon demanding action against the boy.
Former head of the village, Shamshaad and former head Maulvi, Mustafa, alleged that the Hindu boy had deliberately posted blasphemous content on Facebook in order to vitiate the atmosphere and they reached the police station with a print-out of post demanding immediate action.
The villagers indulged in sloganeering and even attempted to block the Meerut-Badaut road.
The complaint was lodged on behalf of Altaf, son of Hasrat against Hindu boy Mahendra, son of Arun, who are residents of the village.
Reports also allege that the police abandoned the police station and fled from the scene once the mob had surrounded the police station and started sloganeering.
This is not the first time Hindus have been arrested for ‘blasphemous’ social media posts or remarks against Prophet Mohammad or Islam.
In December 2015, Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested under similar circumstances when Muslim mob took to the streets of Saharanpur and Deoband demanding action against Kamlesh for ‘blasphemous’ remarks against the prophet. Even then, the mob had clashed with the police and attempted to block the highway. Muslim mobs in various cities of the country had demanded death penalty to Tiwari even after he was arrested under National Security Act.
The latest incident is also a stark reminiscent of Muslim mob demanding that the ‘blasphemer’ be handed over to the mob for justice in Trombay area of Mumbai’s eastern suburbs earlier this year in March.
Such incidents, while uncountable, are a reminder of how fragile and hollow the debates surrounding Freedom of Expression really are.
In a country where mobs indulge in mindless violence over ‘blasphemous’ posts, it is amusing when our eminent journalists claim Freedom of Expression is being trampled upon by the Government while looking the other way and maintaining strategic silence over such incidents.
While the English language Media has squarely ignored such incidents almost as a matter of policy, our politicians seem equally oblivious and inadequate in dealing with such communal intimidation and arm-twisting that is becoming too frequent of late.