By A Staff Writer
Bhatkal: Anti-social elements in the coastal districts of Karnataka are upto new mischief every time. On Sunday, October 4, someone from among the communal elements uploaded a message on What’sapp showing the corpse of a police personnel in the middle of a road following a traffic mishap in Bhatkal. The accompanying message ‘informed’ the social media users that ‘the corpse belonged to a cop who was crushed under the wheels while rescuing animals from a van being driven by a Muslim driver taking them for slaughter’.
The photo and the message created sensation in Bhatkal and surrounding places as the entire area has been under the throes of virulent and mischievous campaign being led by the Sangh Parivar outfits for several years. They had been fanning hatred against minority communities and other marginalized groups and accusing them of engaging in cow slaughter, ‘love jihad’, desecration of others places of worship and all such activities without any evidence.
As the messages and news spread, it was bound to create sensation and calls began to pour in the office Sahil Online, a news portal in Bhatkal which had been in the forefront of providing credible news and information from the small and otherwise peaceful town.
Several reporters from newspapers in Udupi and Mangaluru also contacted the Sahil office for confirmation of the report and expressed surprise as to how such calumnious information and inciting photographs could be circulated on social media. The first call came from a Udupi based TV channel indicating that the source of mischief was located in the town.
It was later revealed that the video clip had been transposed from a Hindi newspaper website in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur town to the social media with inflammatory information added locally. Undoubtedly, the message was clearly aimed at inflaming religious passions and provoking violence. Later, Prashanth Naik, Circle Inspector of the Police, Bhatkal confirmed that someone had taken the picture from the Hindi newspaper website from Saharanpur and uploaded it on the what’sapp to stoke communal passion in the town. It may be noted that the police officer from UP had been killed in a traffic accident on September 21.
The local Majlis Islah o Tanzeem which initially decided to register an FIR against attempt by an unknown element with the malicious attention to incite communal passions, had not done so till October 16. Its general secretary Althaf Kharuri told Islamic Voice over phone that the Majlis had verbally conveyed its concern to the Deputy Commissioner of the North Canara district.
It is the second instance of such an attempt being made by communal elements. Another inciting videoclip of a running bull on a roof had been uploaded three days before Eidul Azha with ‘information’ that some elements were chasing a bull for slaughter, although the location showed in the video had no relevance to Bhatkal town.