An objectionable photograph on Facebook led to a total shutdown of the communally sensitive Bhiwandi city, around 50 km from Mumbai, on Thursday.
Bhivandi, known for its power looms, also has a history of communal clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups. Late Wednesday night, a police complaint against unidentified persons was registered by one Aftab Hussain Shaikh, after he saw the objectionable photograph.
“At 1.00 a.m., a crowd came out on the street and there was tension in the area. However, in the morning both the communities decided to observe bandhs to avoid any unwanted incident,” said Rasheed Momin, local MLA from the Samajwadi Party.
All shops and industrial units remained closed and no incidents of violence were reported.
The police have registered the case under Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67-A of the Information Technology Act at Bhiwandi City and Bhoiwada police stations in Bhiwandi and Rabodi police station in Thane.
“We are in constant touch with the leaders of both the communities to not let the situation slip out of our hands. We have launched a search for the accused and our cyber team will lead us to the guilty soon,” said a senior police officer from Thane.
Thane Police Commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi, who visited Bhiwandi on Thursday morning, appealed for peace and asked people not to believe rumours.