Tuesday November 20, 2018
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Boy lynched in Gurgaon over DJ request: This is not Gandhi’s India

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By Sapan Kapoor

We are a country of Mahatma Gandhi who gave the message of tolerance, brotherhood and non-violence to the world that was in the grip of incessant bloody wars in the early twentieth century. Ironically, 67 years after his assassination by a ‘Hindu nationalist’, we seem to be a nation that has gone mad, drenched with violence and intolerance from tip to toe.

Today, there is violence in our words, thoughts and actions. It’s everywhere. People seem to be gunning for each other like wild beasts for their prey and taking lives over as trivial a matter like parking at a wrong place or over music in a club.

On October 20, just three days ago, 22-year-old Rohit Bhardwaj was brutally beaten to death with hockey sticks after a scuffle at a party in Gurgaon over a request for the music to be changed. His father was also severely injured when he tried to rescue him. CCTV footage of this disturbing incident being shown on news channels can make one’s hair stand on end.

Rohit, a college student in Delhi and a resident of Gurgaon, had gone to attend a friend’s birthday party in a vacant plot in the New Subhash Nagar area in Gurgaon where around 20 others had gathered.

Police said a brawl broke out when Rohit asked the DJ to change the music and the latter refused to do it. A few of the drunken partygoers then attacked Rohit, brutally beating him up with hockey sticks.

When Rohit was being attacked, his father, Deepak Bhardwaj, reached the spot and tried to save him. But the boys did not even spare him, attacking the latter with sticks. The attackers thereafter fled the spot. Rohit’s brutal, heartrending murder was caught on camera which is enough to send shivers down one’s spine.

We should be losing our sleep over this growing intolerance and violence in our society. But, alas, that does not seem to be the case. People are being bumped off for their ideas, eating habits and the way of their life. 50-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq’s only fault was that he lived in a society where mob justice was ‘acceptable’.

If Gandhiji was alive today, he would have cried his heart out after seeing the level of intolerance and violence in a country for whose freedom he sacrificed his life. How right he was when he said that ‘violence is an invitation for more violence’ and that ‘an eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind’. If we all became zombies, who will be left?

Check out this video wherein a man can be seen shooting his acquaintance in the head in broad daylight in the middle of a narrow crowded lane in West Delhi’s Vikas Nagar.

The incident took place in June this year where CCTV footage shows a man alighting from a rickshaw when another man who at first seemed to be casually passing by started an argument.

The confrontation at first seemed unprovoked, but the visual shows the man taking out a gun and later shooting at the man twice, reminiscent of a typical Bollywood shoot-out.

The man was first shot in the chest and after being hit, he tried to run away but could not succeed. The killer kept standing there, observing the victim struggling for his life. After a few seconds, he shot another bullet into the man’s head, ensuring that he did not survive the attack.

All this happened in the heart of the national capital in broad daylight and nobody came forward to rescue the wretched man.

This is where the media has also failed to perform its job i.e. to educate the people about the ramifications of increasing violence and intolerance in our society. Media’s job is not only to disseminate information but also to show the people the right path shown to us by Mahatma Gandhi. There seem to be absolutely no debates and discussions on our 24/7 news channels about the moral degradation of and growing violence in the country.

We are, alas, a nation today where two Dalit children are burnt alive by members of an upper caste community, something that should make us hang our heads in shame. Why have things come to such a pass? And where are we heading to?

In these turbulent times when ISIS asks for a Caliphate, Taliban butchers school children in Peshawar, hundreds are killed and displaced in the name of religion, we need to introspect.

The big question that needs to be asked is: Are we still humans or have we lost it somewhere in the process of evolution?

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Should Promote Human Rights More In Myanmar: Facebook

Facebook has roughly 20 million users in Myanmar, according to BSR, which warned Facebook faces several unresolved challenges in Myanmar.

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Facebook, myanmar
A cellphone user looks at a Facebook page at a shop in Latha street, Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

Facebook on Monday said a human rights report it commissioned on its presence in Myanmar showed it had not done enough to prevent its social network from being used to incite violence.

The report by San Francisco-based nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) recommended that Facebook more strictly enforce its content policies, increase engagement with both Myanmar officials and civil society groups and regularly release additional data about its progress in the country.

“The report concludes that, prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more,” Alex Warofka, a Facebook product policy manager, said in a blog post.

facebook, U.S., myanmar
A protester wearing a mask with the face of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in between men wearing angry face emoji masks, is seen during a demonstration against Facebook outside Portcullis in London. VOA

BSR also warned that Facebook must be prepared to handle a likely onslaught of misinformation during Myanmar’s 2020 elections, and new problems as use of its WhatsApp grows in Myanmar, according to the report, which Facebook released.

A Reuters special report in August found that Facebook failed to promptly heed numerous warnings from organizations in Myanmar about social media posts fueling attacks on minority groups such as the Rohingya.

In August 2017 the military led a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents, pushing more than 700,000 Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh, according to U.N. agencies.

Rohingya, India, myanmar
A man from the Rohingya community fills out an identification form provided by local police inside his shop at a camp in New Delhi. VOA

 

The social media website in August removed several Myanmar military officials from the platform to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation,” for the first time banning a country’s military or political leaders.

It also removed dozens of accounts for engaging in a campaign that “used seemingly independent news and opinion pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military.”

The move came hours after United Nations investigators said the army carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent.”

Facebook said it has begun correcting shortcomings.

myanmar, facebook
A deforested section of the Chakmakul camp for Rohingya refugees clings to a hillside in southern Bangladesh, Feb. 13, 2018. VOA

Facebook said that it now has 99 Myanmar language specialists reviewing potentially questionable content. In addition, it has expanded use of automated tools to reduce distribution of violent and dehumanizing posts while they undergo review.

Also Read: Video: Orange Rallies in US Honor Victims of Gun Violence

In the third quarter, the company said it “took action” on about 64,000 pieces of content that violated its hate speech policies. About 63 percent were identified by automated software, up from 52 percent in the prior quarter.

Facebook has roughly 20 million users in Myanmar, according to BSR, which warned Facebook faces several unresolved challenges in Myanmar.

BSR said locating staff there, for example, could aid in Facebook’s understanding of how its services are used locally but said its workers could be targeted by the country’s military, which has been accused by the U.N. of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. (VOA)