A 2-minute video of a man who died after being hit by a bullet in the face when police opened fire to quell a rampaging mob that had attacked Illambazar police station in Birbhum district has gone viral on social media.
The video shows 30-year-old Rejaul Islam’s body lying on the road with the mob running towards it and several people asking “is he dead?”.
The video was shot by a protester who didn’t wish to be identified. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, “The protest was at the Illambazar bus stop on the NH 60, after the mosque had been attacked. The police were trying to control the situation, but everything became very violent. By that time, the police was also enraged and they started shooting. One of the bullets hit Rejaul.”
“In the video, you can clearly see that he was shot in the face. But what is incredible is that no local media is covering this violence or his death. No Bengali newspaper has written about us and neither have the television channels covered this,” he added.
The video, now being circulated and shared across social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, has proved to be a new headache for the police. “Even if one video is on a social media platform, people will add all sorts of twists to try and polarize the situation,” said a senior police officer.
Though the police attempted to curb the escalating tension in the area by blocking Internet, pamphlets with photographs of Sujan Mukherjee, the youth who shared an objectionable post on Facebook leading to the violence, surfaced in the area. The pamphlets demanding justice and, in some cases, capital punishment for the youth, are now being circulated by hand, said the police.
“Posters with Mukherjee’s photograph, taken from his Facebook profile have been put up across Illambazar, Muslim neighbourhoods and bus stops. This is only adding to the tension here. We are on standby,” said Vishwa Jeet, a CPRF officer.
Meanwhile the police have appealed to community elders, both Hindu and Muslim, to ensure that further violence doesn’t take place. Superintendent of Police Mukesh Kumar added, “The situation is under control. We are taking all possible steps.”