Unfortunate Death of a 8 year old Child and the pitfalls of social media frenzy

In an unfortunate incident in Begumpur village near Malviya Nagar of South Delhi a 8 year old child has been killed. As the CCTV footage (available on social media) and police investigation based on the eyewitness account show the deceased child, Azeem, a student of the Dar ul Uloom Faridiya, got into a scuffle with the other children. He was grieviously injured in the scuffle (which happened at 10:00 AM in the morning) and succumbed to his injuries at a hospital ( after which the police was informed at around 6:00 PM in the evening).

The scuffle started over playing at a vacant plot of land near the madarsa. Azeem along with other students from the madarsa were playing cricket in this plot when another group of children came to play and asked them to move to one side. Hence, this unfortunate incident is an outcome of something which is otherwise very commonplace.

What do we see though? A big section of self-proclaimed leftists and liberals started sharing posts on social media since yesterday evening calling the killing a ‘lynching’. All of this started from a report in one of the portals which also carried an interview of the maulana of the madarsa in which he claims that ‘ he and the students studying in the madarsa were being harassed for quite sometime. ‘ He is also reported to say that ‘few days back few lumpens barged into the madarsa, tried to stop the namaaz and also broke hand of one of the students’. As this report says clearly , it is based on the inputs from one of the leading activists of a group whose main agenda has been against the hate crimes. Interestingly, the narrative of the incident presented here differs with the actual events (based on the CCTV footage and the eyewitness accounts).

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This social media frenzy is a pit where objectivity is lost and a serious word such as ‘lynching’ looses meaning. No one denies that whatever happened yesterday was unfortunate and neither does anyone out-rightly reject the possible existence of communal tensions in the area. However, this doesn’t give anyone a license to distort the reality.

The present escalation in hate crimes is a direct result of the patronage given by the RSS-BJP to the numerous vigilante groups and private armies that thrive in the environment of insecurity of the present times and hyper connectivity of the social media. The rightwing communal offensive has created a climate of fear and insecurity amongst the Muslim minorities. The lynching of innocent Muslim men and boys by so-called Gau Rakshaks and the palpable bias of the state administration in dealing with such incidents in BJP-ruled states has heightened their insecurity.

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It would be foolish to believe though that one kind of frenzy can be countered by willingly or unwillingly creating another type of frenzy. All of us who are serious about combating the Hindutva offensive and its lynching gangs should keep in mind that in these times of post-truth too objectivity matters and truth does exist!

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