Even as the Uttar Pradesh government blamed the circulation of a fake video on social media for aggravating communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, inflamattory and communally inciting material continued to be spread widely on social networking sites and applications.
Newspapers reports, morphed with inflammatory headlines, were widely circulated through various groups on Twitter, Facebook and other mediums of social media on Monday. Two widely circulated posts were picture clippings from the reports of Hindi daily Dainik Jagran's Muzaffarnagar edition. A report dated September 9 was morphed with the headline, “Musalmano duara Hinduo ka katleam jaari (Muslims continue to slaughter Hindus).”
However, the original headline read: “Dangiyo ko goli marne ka aadesh (Shoot at sight orders against rioters.”
Another report of the same daily, dated September 8 was also morphed with a fake headline and widely circulated on Facebook. The original headline read, “Panchayat se laute do logo ki goli mar ke hatya (Two killed on their way back from Panchayat).” Its morphed version read: “Muzaffarnagar mein Musalmano ka aatank, Hinduo mein Khauf (Muzaffarnagar terrorized by Muslims, Hindus in fear.”
Several posts and pictures giving exaggerated numbers of the dead and inflammatory comments were also being circulated on social media.
This comes even as the State has blamed social media for the spread of inflammatory material and blocked a fake video of violence in Muzaffarnagar district. However, before it was blocked, the video became so popular that its snapshots even made their way into the pages of some Hindi dailies.
Police have lodged an FIR against BJP MLA from Sardhana constituency of Meerut district Thakur Sangeet Singh Som and 200 others in this regard. They have been booked under Sections 420 (forgery), 153-A (promoting enmity on religious grounds) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
The video, which was being falsely circulated as the lynching of two boys from a particular community in Muzaffarnagar, has been sourced to an incident in Pakistan. The original video is of 2010, when a mob lynched two youths to death in Pakistan's Sialkot.
UP Home Secretary Kamal Saxena admitted that fake videos about communal clashes were being circulated through social media to disturb communal harmony. “People are trying to spread rumours to disturb communal harmony through social media and using fake videos to disturb communal harmony in the state,” he said.