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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Taunts and trolls go on in WhatsApp groups in Kanpur – Mrit News

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Sitting inside his confectionery shop near Parade Chowk in Kanpur, Abhishek Sahu, 40, unlocked his smartphone and opened a WhatsApp group of “friends”. Among messages of “Jai Shree Ram” and “I support Nupur Sharma” with Ms. Sharma’s photos, there were several videos on the group.

One of the videos, which was shot at night, after the communal violence in the area on June 3, purportedly shows a group of police personnel allegedly beating at least two Muslim men, who are crying out loud.

“Late night, the cries which could be heard in the lanes of Kanpur, this is called relief in scriptures,” read a message in Hindi; the message also praised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

After the communal violence in Nai Sadak of Kanpur, the area is now under heavy security cover, and many such conversations and discussions have moved to WhatsApp.

Some Hindus were attacking Muslims or supporting the BJP over WhatsApp messages. Meanwhile, some Muslims attacked Nupur Sharma or supported Zafar Hayat Hashmi, who had given the call for closing down shops in the area on June 3, according to WhatsApp conversations seen by The Hindu.

Both groups also have videos on the messaging platform through which they explain how the other community allegedly started the violence.

Arrests of Muslims; incriminating videos

Following Friday prayers on June 3, there was violence in the area after a group of Muslims took out a march against comments made by Ms. Sharma about Prophet Mohammad. When the march reached a Hindu-dominated area in Nai Sadak, it turned violent and there was heavy stone pelting. Both communities claim that the other community started the violence.

Kanpur Police has filed three FIRs, out of which two were done based on information by police officials. Thirty six people were named in one FIR and 20 in the second one — all of them are Muslims. Since then, the Uttar Pradesh has arrested 55 people and most of them are Muslims.

The video in Mr. Sahu’s phone is supposedly of Muslims being arrested by police after the violence. When asked about the message with the video, he just smiled. Meanwhile, Kanpur Police PRO said that prima facie, it seems that the video is not from Kanpur, but the police is investigating the matter.

Abhishek Sahu showed a video from the WhatsApp group, which he used to explain the incident. “Muslims were going in front of Chandreshwar Hata (a Hindu dominated area) and one person waves a handkerchief and they rush over to attack the Hata. See you can clearly see it in the video,” he said showing the video.

Meanwhile, Sanskar Sahu, 21, who runs a stall which sells lassi at the Parade Chowk also had similar videos in his WhatsApp. One of the videos is a meme, in which people wearing skull caps can be initially seen pelting stones. After that a message “A few moments later” is shown on the screen and it subsequently shows another video clip in which a youth wearing a skull cap and white kurta being beaten and taken away by police.

Muslims call to boycott Hindu shops

Meanwhile, WhatsApp messages of Laiq Ahmed, 52, and others showed messages to boycott some Hindu shops in the area.

“These people should be boycotted and no Muslim should buy things worth even Rs. 1 from them,” read a message in Hindi with a list of five shops in the area. Similar messages were seen in others’ phones too.

There were other videos also in his WhatsApp, in which people were seen throwing stones from atop a building with saffron flags.

One of the messages in a WhatsApp group of a Muslim youth from the area had a photo of Mr. Hashmi with the message “The voice of Muslims… Zafar Hashmi”. There were many messages against Ms. Sharma in these groups.

Mr. Hashmi has been arrested by the police in connection with the violence.

The youth also had videos of the incident in which a group of people was seen throwing stones at Muslims. “There are more videos in which it can be clearly seen that the Hindus started the violence,” he added.

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