In India, a human chain to protect a Hindu temple after rumors on Facebook

Rebellion broke out in Bangalore, India on August 11 after inflammatory Facebook posts addressed to the Prophet Muhammad, posted by nephew of a Hindu MP. A crowd gathered around the politician’s house, set fire to two police stations and set up several vehicles. In order to attack a Hindu temple in the neighborhood, young people formed a human chain to protect it.The night of August 11 was particularly turbulent in Bangalore when a crowd consisting mainly of individuals of Muslim faith rushed to DJ Halli police station. Protesters demanded an investigation into a Facebook post by Akhanda Sriniva Murthys nephew, a member of the Indian National Congress.

The post, then deleted, contained abusive language against the Prophet Muhammad and was published accordingly Internet users who have been able to consult it, with a clear intention to employ hatred. The lack of reaction from the police in Bangalore thus made the crowd.

Photos and videos on social networks show this large audience rushing to the police station.

A video posted on Twitter on August 11 shows the crowds gathering around DJ Halli’s police station.

“People were like, ‘Why aren’t the police so quick to pick up the author of a post for hate religion?’ “

Noor Zahira, a journalism student in Bangalore, went to the police station when the riots began:

Protesters were furious because a similar situation had occurred several weeks earlier, not around an audience that hated religion, but rather against an MP [en juin 2020, un homme a été arrêté après avoir posté des propos diffamatoires contre le chef de la province du Telangana, Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao, NDLR]. When the mail went viral, the police arrived at the post’s writer’s home. In Bangalore, people said, “If you’re so quick to challenge the author of a malicious post against a politician, why are you not quick to challenge a post that hates religion?”

MK Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, whose nephew, identified as Naveen Kumar, is behind the publication that threw oil on the fire, claimed that he was not in contact with him. For his part, the author of the post claimed that his account had been hacked and that he was not the source of this publication. He has since been arrested by police.

“Prevent the situation from escalating”

Fearing that the crowd would attack Hindu services in this predominantly Muslim neighborhood, a group of young volunteers gathered around the main Hindu temple.

This video documents the presence around the Hanuman Temple in Bangalore of young volunteers who gathered to protect it from the angry crowd. Video published on August 11 on Twitter by our Observer.

Noor Zahira witnessed the human chain:

The temple was just a stone’s throw from the attacked police station. To avoid societal tensions, people gathered to block each other by holding hands. They absolutely wanted to prevent a worship service from being affected and the situation escalated with religious riots.

In February last year, there were riots in New Delhi, and we wanted to avoid it in Bangalore at all costs. [53 personnes ont trouvé la mort dans des émeutes dans la capitale indienne lors d’émeutes communautaires entre hindous et musulmans, NDLR]. I have also seen Muslim leaders address the audience in Bangalore explaining that it is high time to live in peace with the other community. “

The human chain helped deter the insurgency from attacking the Hindu temple. Although there was no place for worship, this was not the case in other areas of the neighborhood.

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“Everything was charred at a police station”

Noor Zahira continues:

The police station that was targeted is normally very well protected. The entrance gate, for example, is very large and solid. The protesters failed to break it. But they were able to take advantage of the arrival of a police vehicle, which allowed the gate to open, to rush into the post office. It was right now that they set fire to the premises. Everything was charred insideand the windows were also smashed by throwing stones.

The video was published on August 11, which shows the audience smashing the police station’s windows with stones.

According to our observer, the police tried to disperse the protesters by firing into the air and throwing tear gas. Three people killed in clashes, according to police.

After the first incident, the audience then proceeded to another police station, KG Hallis, then to the deputy’s house. Neither he nor his family were at the scene. Protesters also burned close 50 vehicles on the road and 200 others impressed in police stations.

In this video published on August 11, the audience is seen walking towards the house of the Member of Parliament whose nephew was behind the hate mail.

Protesters started a motorcycle on the street and overturned a vehicle on August 11 in Bangalore.

This August 11 video shows the crowds setting fire to the streets of Bangalore during the riots.

The August 11 incident in Bangalore was unanimously condemned by both political parties but also religious bodies Indian.

Indian authorities have imposed a curfew in the area where the riots took place and banned the gathering of more than four people on public roads throughout the city of Bangalore.

According to official figures, at least during the riot 75 policemen were injuredas well as several civilians. At least 150 people were arrested by the police.

Article written by Pariesa Young.