Mohsin Mohammed Sadique Shaikh, an IT professional, working as an IT manager in a private textile firm was murdered on the night of June 2 by a mob of 30 to 40 people, alleged to be members of Hindu Rashtra Sena, at Unnati Nagar in Hadapsar when he was on his way home after offering the evening namaz. The mob was moving around the area on bikes to protest against the morphed derogatory photographs of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray which went viral on social media (Facebook and Whatsapp). However, the uploads were made through foreign proxy servers traced to sources in India. Home minister of Maharashtra, R R Patil said authorities know the identity of those who uploaded the offensive images and that Mohsin was innocent. A total of 25 men, including HRS chief Dhananjay Desai, have been arrested since Tuesday for the protests that erupted in the Maharashtra city, Desai has not yet been charged with murder. Desai was charged with criminal conspiracy for the murder of Shaikh, and is already in judicial custody for distributing offensive pamphlets.
BJP MP from Pune, Anil Shirole said on June 5, Thursday that though the murder of a Muslim techie allegedly by members of a Hindutva group in Pune was unfortunate, but it was “natural” that there would be repercussions to a Facebook post that was derogatory towards Shivaji and Bal Thackeray. Meanwhile, senior Congress minister Naseem Khan has demanded a ban on the outfit to which the killers of the 28-year-old software professional belonged. According to a senior police officer, “Mohsin wasn’t attacked because he was taken to be the one who had uploaded an offensive FB post, but simply because he sported a beard and was wearing a Pathan suit which marked him out as a Muslim”. Interestingly Desai was also invited for a Hindu Rashtra Convention in Goa in 2013. The section of talks for which he was invited dealt with ‘Retaliating the attack of Islam’, and he spoke on “Increasing Jihadi mentality among the Muslims and Safety measure”.
Social networking venues have taken root in this generation and have revolutionized the way our personal interactions take shape. These websites allow people to easily post photographs, videos, and other information online to share with others, usually at little or no cost. Social media is used all over the world and has become the best way to reach the masses. Especially Facebook and Whatsapp are highly popular, not only amongst the youth but all generations. However, social media related misconduct is becoming widespread. The veil of anonymity that digital technologies provide the abusers of social media has to be pierced, without impinging on freedom of speech. The Maharashtra government is mulling action against not only those who upload objectionable things but also against those who “like” and forward them.
It is sad that even in this so called modernized world people are still being murdered in the name of religion. What was the fault of the innocent Mohsin? That he was a Muslim? People need to realize that it is not at all fruitful to build walls between “humans” and promote communal violence and riots.