A few days ago, no one knew the boy who lived near the 100-year-old Magurkhali Milan Masjid in Baduria. Ask anyone in Bashirhat today, and they will lead you to a charred, single-storied house. On Sunday, his life changed overnight after he uploaded an “objectionable” post on Facebook. A furious mob set fire to his home, and the Class IX student landed up in police custody instead of school. Locals say that ever since the clashes, they are scared to even step out of their homes.
“We are clueless about where he got it (the picture he posted on Facebook) from. I doubt he created it on his own. He might have circulated it without the intention of creating violence. A community was hurt, police arrested him. Now the violence should end. I don’t think his family will ever be able to lead a normal life,” says a Muslim boy from the area, who also deleted his Facebook account out of fear. Police sources said the boy has not confessed to uploading anything yet. “What we have concluded so far is he apparently did it unintentionally. We haven’t yet got any political angle to the case. The question is that even if he uploaded, who created that graphic?” an officer from Baduria police station said.
“He shouldn’t have shared that picture. Either he was brainwashed by someone or he did it unintentionally. Why would he try to create trouble in his area? Several vehicles were burnt, for the last three days people have been too scared to step out of their homes and there is so much of tension because of him. No one has the right to insult someone’s religious belief,” said another local, Salauddin Sheikh.
While tension still prevails in Baduria, no police personnel were deployed near his house or in adjoining areas and forces seemed to have shifted to Bashirhat area. “His whole family has studied under me. They have all fled. His family was an ordinary one with no connection to any political party. One post ruined everything. Now people want him to be hanged, I cannot say anything beyond this,” Manoranjan Mondal, a teacher, told The Indian Express.
Locals said the boy was brought up in an environment where “Muslims and Hindus have always lived in peace”. He had several Muslim friends too, and now, the same ones are shocked and hurt, they added.