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Politics of communal comments and suffering of common mass

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By Tarun Pratap

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad sparked a controversy by saying had Chhota Rajan and Anup Chetia been Muslims, BJP government’s narrative would have been different.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar hit back by saying that Congress leaders give everything a religious turn and are the most communal.

This series of back and forth targeting highlights a key issue of Indian politics that political leaders have a habit of making communal comments without thinking about the consequences.

It seems that the only motive behind these comments is to spark an issue, malign opposition’s image, disturb the peace, play the blame game and then just walk away.

The whole country is debating that if we are becoming intolerant and communal and all those big words; while the real question is are we really changing or we are being forced to think that we are changing?

History tells the same story. Yes, communal tensions were always there, they will always be there, but till mid-1930s Indian struggle for freedom had no major communal issue and in a time of a decade and a half, this issue forced millions to leave their homes, to lose their lives and everything.

It is a point to think that how a country can become communal or secular in a span of few years. One reason is that the doubts against other community are always there in the hearts of community like many Muslims believe that one day there will be no place for them in India as it is a Hindu country or many Hindu believe that the Mughal rule of Aurangzeb might come back. Both fears are absurd but these fears are ignited by such series of communal comments that spark series of events where hate crimes take place and innocents get lynched and killed.

One of the main reasons of this environment of hatred and radical passions being fuelled is due to these communal comments made by our leaders, up irrespective of parties or religion they belong to.

It confuses the common man. A 12-year-old student has no idea how someone named Tipu Sultan is the hero one day and a villain, the next day. Nobody is going to tell her that it is because there are people who want votes, power and they will go any limits to achieve it.

Our way of protest and retaliation is flawed. ISIS thinks that killing innocents, bombing cities is the way to protest against who harmed them once and a certain liberated France thinks that firing missiles after missiles is the way to take the revenge.

It all becomes a cycle where every party is blaming the other that they started it. I was 10 when my mother said, “get your mess cleaned, yourself” and that was the last time I said to my mother that “he started it” about a fight with my brother.

However, in the case of the world, there are mothers like America who wait for an opportunity when someone comes with the complaint of ‘they started it’ and then they give them the gun and say ‘why don’t you finish it’?

Again the issue is not who is communal, BJP, Congress or a terrorist; the issue is who pays the price and that is a ‘Mohammed Akhlaq’ or every one of 257 victims in 1993 Mumbai blast and last, people like those 42 who were killed in Hashimpura Massacre of 22nd May of 1987. All these people pay the price and, ironically, they do not even matter to the people who give comments.

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

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Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Fake accounts on Twitter are many. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

facebook
This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as VK.com, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)