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Serial killing of a prophet sparks fury on Indian social media

#Serial #killing #prophet #sparks #fury #Indian #social #media

The gruesome killing of a Hindu tailor has sparked religious tensions in India and sparked an angry social media response, including calls for retaliatory attacks against the country’s Muslim minority.

Two Muslim men have been arrested over Tuesday’s attack, which appears to have been in retaliation for inflammatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed made weeks earlier by a spokeswoman for India’s ruling party.

Footage of Kanhaiya Lal’s murder and attempted beheading, which went viral online, also showed his attackers brandishing large knives and threatening to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India has a long history of communal violence and authorities have shut down internet connections and imposed a curfew in the city where the attack took place to prevent unrest.

But social media platforms have been consumed by angry reactions to the killing, with some users calling for violent retribution against both the accused killers and fellow Muslims.

Members of public Telegram groups dedicated to promoting and defending Hinduism called on each other to pick up arms and attack Muslims, or debated the merits of storming a police station to attack the two accused.

Far-right Hindu group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) used social media to launch a nationwide call to protest against Islamist terrorism, complaining that Muslims have regularly disturbed religious sentiments of India’s majority religion.

“They should fear the day when Hindus also start responding to the insult,” said Surendra Kumar Jain, a senior VHP figure, in a video posted online and viewed nearly 75,000 times on Twitter and Facebook .

Although many prominent voices said the killing was an indictment of Islam, many of the loudest voices condemning the attack came from Muslim religious groups.

“There is no place in Islam for the justification of violence,” wrote the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, one of at least half a dozen prominent Indian-based Muslim groups that have condemned the attack while calling for calm.

“The peace should not be disturbed. Nobody should try to take advantage of this ugly crime.”

– “Hindu lives matter” goes viral –

A day after his assassination, Lal’s name was mentioned more than 200,000 times on Twitter, along with a grab bag of hashtags condemning the attack.

The hashtag “Hindu lives matter” was posted more than 2,000 times an hour on Thursday.

Lal was targeted after a Facebook post expressing his support for Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokeswoman who made inflammatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during a televised debate last month.

Her comments sparked violent protests in India and embroiled the country in a diplomatic row, with nearly 20 countries asking their Indian ambassadors for an explanation.

The BJP went into damage control after Sharma’s comments, suspending her from the party and issuing a statement insisting it respects all religions.

But since Modi’s party came to power nationwide in 2014, human rights groups and foreign governments have accused her of pursuing discriminatory policies against India’s 200-million-strong Muslim minority.

Amnesty reported this month that authorities had carried out a “vicious” crackdown on Muslims who took to the streets to protest Sharma’s remarks, including bulldozing homes.

Since the attack on Lal, party members have taken to social media to criticize Muslim nations who have complained about Sharma’s comments about remaining silent on the killing.

Several also targeted Indian journalist Mohammed Zubair, who had helped draw attention to Sharma’s remarks that eventually led to her being suspended from the BJP.

In a tweet, Kapil Mishra, a BJP politician, accused Zubair and his supporters of being “responsible” for the tailor’s death.

Zubair, who has frequently drawn attention to hate speech by marginalized Hindu groups, was arrested on Monday.

He remains in custody with police citing a four-year-old tweet about a Hindu god they said had been the subject of complaints from Hindu groups.

Police launched an investigation into Sharma this month after a member of the public complained about her comments, but she has not been arrested and her current whereabouts are unknown.

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#Serial #killing #prophet #sparks #fury #Indian #social #media

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