Basirhat Reports/Part III. Facebook Generation: New Pawns Of The Old Game

Biswajit Roy

Biswajit is a journalist and associated with democratic movements.

Read Part I: The Social-political Bacdrop To The Communal Violence

Read Part II : The Dynamics Of Communal Polarization In Bengal: A Probe Into Baduria-Basirhat Flare Up

The gray-headed spin-masters of competitive communalisms of Hindu and Muslim varieties have been using respective community youth as the foot soldiers of their hate campaigns across the country for long.  Baduria- Basirhat this time has highlighted the role of ‘facebook and whatsapp generation’; not only as the perpetrators of sectarian violence but also as most effective messengers and the force multipliers of inflamed passions. And, the digitally powered social media has almost become a message itself heralding the coming of age for the post-truth generation. No doubt, the boom of smartphone users with 24X7 affordable accesses to social media networks, both online and offline as well as use of in-built cameras and animation apps has democratized mass communication and minimized India’s digital divide. At the same time, the smart technology and its main users have been turned into most effective tools for murderous mobilizations, in the name of Ram or Rahim in our part of the world.

The lynch mobs of self-appointed cow-protectors which are now rampaging across the land, mostly comprised of young Hindu males, have already tested the heady cocktail of religious fanaticism and digital empowerment.  Baduria-Basirhat has shown that it has found its connoisseurs among the Indian Bengali Muslim youth too, close on the heels of fundamentalist Jaamat and Hefajat followers in Bangladesh.

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Basirhat Reports/Part II. The Social-political Backdrop To The Communal Violence

Biswajit Roy

Biswajit is a journalist and associated with democratic movements.

‘Part I. The Dynamics Of Communal Polarization In Bengal: A Probe Into Baduria-Basirhat Flare Up’ can be read from here.

Demographic tension and trans-border competitive communalisms

The politics of Demographic domination that thrives on mutual fears and prejudices of Hindus and Muslims has been the fountainhead of latent communal tension in Indo-Bangladesh border for long. Even as the impacts of post-partition forced migration are absorbed fully, waves of new Hindu migrants from Bangladesh after its liberation war in 1971 became substantial in the nineties when both the countries witnessed the surge in communal forces. When West Bengal recorded a decadal population growth of almost 18 per cent in 2001 census, North 24 parganas registered almost 23 per cent increase to its 1991 figure.

Significantly, it happened in the aftermath of widespread Islamist persecutions of Bangladeshi Hindus, mainly during BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami regime in 1991-96 when India too witnessed the surge of the Hindutva forces that culminated in the demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992 and beginning of BJP’s electoral fortune. This is another example of mutual strengthening of competitive communalisms across the border. They are out to complete their unfinished agendas of the Partition. Persecution of Hindus picked up again during second term of BNP-Jaamat rule in 2001-06 following post-Godhra killings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Hindus suffered during Awami League (AL) rules too, particularly 2013 onward after Jaamati-Hefajati Islamist forces clashed with government sides over the hanging of Jaamat leaders of early seventies for their war crimes as Pakistani collaborators.

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