Social media post triggers communal tension in Bengal

Roads in North 24 Paraganas blocked; schools, offices shut

The situation in parts of North 24 Paraganas district was tense on Tuesday after a social media post snowballed into a communal flare-up.

Serious situation

“It is a serious situation and the State government is adopting serious measures to contain it,” said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

It began on Sunday night after a man, Souvik Sarkar, from Rudrapur village posted a derogatory meme on social media. The post was shared on an instant messaging service and protests erupted on Monday morning.

Severely affected

At least three blocks of North 24 Paraganas district were severely affected as locals blocked the road connecting the district with Kolkata.

Roads in the district were also blocked and school, colleges and offices shut. A few shops were damaged in the Tentuliya area of the Swarupnagar block.

The other affected blocks are Baduria, Deganga and pockets of Basirhat sub-division. In Basirhat, various Hindu groups protested against the virtual strike observed in parts of the district. No one was “killed or severely hurt,” police sources said.

The West Bengal chapter of the Jamaat-e-Islami made an appeal to maintain peace in the district.

Md. Nuruddin, the organisation’s Bengal chief, requested the State government to “monitor” social media.

He said the post had hurt religious sentiments of the community and was an attempt to “spread hatred and anger” in Bengal.

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