Attack on Ahmadi worship place: Fake social media posts spurred violence in Ghaseetpura

FAISALABAD: Unbridled unauthenticated fake posts on social media created problems for the police to maintain the law and order in Ghaseetpura in the Balochni police area that witnessed an attack on Ahmadi worship place on Thursday.

Scores of such posts were seen on social media which claimed that seven Muslims were killed by the firing of the Ahmadi community and others were injured while police were not providing security to the Muslims. However, not a single casualty has been reported or confirmed by any government institutes like hospitals, Rescue 1122, police and other law enforcement agencies. But the social media worked like fuel to the fire and played a major part in fanning the emotions of the Muslims who did not know the reality.

Meanwhile, sensing the situation of the area, SSP (operations) Haider Sultan has been tasked with ensuring all the preventive measures and picketing and patrol in the area to avert any further untoward incident. Besides, a six-member team of police, headed by the SSP (investigation), has been formed to supervise investigation into the incident which is stated to be the result of a feud between the Ahmadi and Muslims in Ghaseetpura. Eighteen people were injured in the violence. The SP Jaranwala, SP legal, DSP Khurrianwala, DSP organised crime and SHO Sargodha Road Police Station are members of the committee.

The SHO Sargodha Road has been appointed as investigating officer in the case as only an inspector can investigate the case registered under section of 7-ATA and Balochni SHO is a sub-inspector. The police booked about 200 people from both the communities.

The violence in Ghaseetpura had started following a cockfight as two Muslim guys had allegedly hit the rooster of an Ahmadi man.

“We had to struggle on two fronts – Ghaseetpura and social media–and frankly speaking provocative posts of the social media were very tough to tackle. The posts claimed that the Ahmadi community had gunned down the Muslims,” a police officer, requesting anonymity, told Dawn. He said one could independently check that the issue had nothing to do with religion, rather it was a pure personal dispute which was given a religious colour.

The officer said monitor and control of the social media, particularly the posts related to religious issues, for social harmony, were the need of the hour. He suggested strict action against the persons involved in fake social media posts irrespective of their religion as they provoked the people, causing irreparable loss to society.

“We have forwarded some posts of social media to the concerned quarters to check such posts as claimed deaths of the Muslims in the clash though till date no death had occurred and people had sustained minor injuries,” the police officer said.

Ahtshamul Haq, a human rights activist, said we had no check on social media, especially facebook, where pages had launched for spreading wrong information and even misquoting the Hadiths and sayings. He said such pages must be blocked by bringing their administrators to the book.

He said in this case of Ahmadi-Muslim communities clash scores of fake posts were shared by some elements to instigate the people against each other which brought a bad name for the image of Pakistan. He added that it was the prime responsibility of the government to ensure free and fair investigation into the incident, bringing the culprits to the book.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2018



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