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A man was arrested in New Delhi on Thursday in connection with the Basirhat communal violence in July. Police said the IP address from which the “offensive” Facebook post that triggered the clashes was uploaded, matched that of his phone. The accused has been identified as Pritam Pal, a resident of Baduria. Earlier, police had detained a 17-year-old Class XI student from whose Facebook account the “objectionable” post was allegedly uploaded. Both Pal and the boy are residents of the same area.
“The IP address from which the offensive post was uploaded matched the mobile phone of Pal,” said special public prosecutor Bivas Chatterjee in his submission to Basirhat court on Friday. Pal has been remanded to 14-day police custody.
Sources in the police said that Pal had opened a Facebook account for the boy from his own mobile phone and had the password, but it is yet to be ascertained if Pal had uploaded the post. “The boy did not know that Pal had the password of his account. A day before the incident, the boy had received a friend request from Pal which he accepted. Later, his profile’s password got changed and he wasn’t able to operate it,” a source told The Sunday Express.
“It has been learnt that Pal and the boy had fought with each other in the past over some petty issues. May be out of anger, Pal uploaded the post from the boy’s account. But, this is not confirmed yet,” the source said, adding that no political angle has been found in the case so far.
SP (North-24 Parganas) C. Sudhakar told The Sunday Express that both Pal and the boy seemed to have been involved. “We are investigating to find out who uploaded the post,” he added. Police are also not denying the involvement of a few others in the case. Regarding Pal’s age, police said. “He must be in his 20s,” said a source.
Tension first erupted in Baduria on July 4 after the Facebook post showing “objectionable images” linked to the Prophet and Kaaba Sharif in Mecca went viral, following which a mob vandalised shops and homes, and set fire to vehicles, triggering retaliatory attacks. The student has been claiming since the beginning that he had not uploaded the post and that his account was hacked.