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OUT ON bail since December 16, two juveniles, accused of uploading the controversial Facebook post that led to communal violence at Baduria and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas in July, are currently being given shelter by members of Hindu Samhati. The Hindutva outfit has also decided to pay for the education of the minors — two friends who studied in Class XI when the riots had broken out.
While one of them had opened a Facebook account for the other, both had access to the account. Following an argument, one of them had allegedly put up an objectionable picture (linked to the Prophet and Kaaba Sharif in Mecca) on his friend’s FB page to “get him into trouble”, police had said. When the post went viral, a mob had set fire to the home of the first accused, triggering tension in Baduria, which eventually spread across the Basirhat sub-division.
Shops and homes were vandalised, triggering retaliatory attacks. The clashes also claimed the life of a 65-year-old man. The outfit had been in touch with the families of the juveniles since their names cropped up in the incident.
The prime accused was 16 when he was arrested on July 4. He had turned 17 two days later. The other accused, arrested in August, is also 17 years old.
“They were granted bail by the Juvenile Justice Board on December 16 and released a day later,” said Tapan Ghosh, founder of Hindu Samhati.
“We cannot deny the fact that they are juveniles and have a future. Now that they have got bail, we hope that by the next academic session, they would return to school,” he added.
“The prime accused’s home was burnt during the violence. They can’t go back there. They are still in shock… While one of them uses a cellphone, the other one is scared to do so,” said a member of Hindu Samhati.
Juvenile Justice Board will hear the case again December 26. It had earlier rejected the bail pleas of the two minors twice on the ground that their lives were under threat. Hindu Samhati members said the two were given bail on the condition that they would stay at a distance of at least 50 km from their residences in Baduria.
Special Public Prosecutor Bivas Chatterjee had strongly objected to the bail plea.