A Muslim mob in the southwestern Indian city of Hubbali stoned a local police station on Saturday after becoming angry at the station’s treatment of a local Hindu resident who changed his Whatsapp profile photo into a photoshopped pro-Hindu image, Indian news site The Wire reported. Sunday.
“On the evening of April 16, a crowd of Muslims began throwing stones at police while protesting what they saw as insufficient action against the defendant who had posted a provocative photoshopped photo of a saffron flag. . [a Hindu nationalist symbol] hoisted on top of a mosque as his Whatsapp status message,” the Wire relayed on April 17.
The large crowd reportedly consisted of nearly 100 people, as police stopped 88 people for their involvement in Sunday’s attack. The massive mob threw rocks at the ‘Old Hubbali’ police station as well as police vehicles parked outside the facility, causing significant damage to both. The riot injured at least 12 police officers on duty at the station at the time. India today The magazine described two of the injured officers as being in “critical condition” on April 17.
“Part of the crowd also allegedly threw stones at a hospital and a [Hindu] temple located near the police station,” the Wire revealed on Sunday.
Hubbali police responded to the riot using tear gas to disperse the crowd. They further imposed a citywide assembly ban late Saturday night that prohibited groups of four or more people from gathering outdoors.
The Wire said it spoke to “an experienced journalist based in Hubballi [sic]on April 17 which claimed that the local pro-Muslim groups “All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and People’s Front of India (PFI)… allegedly mobilized part of the community to campaign against the police and pressure the forces to take more stringent action against the accused. This led to further tensions in the community, following which protests turned violent.
The Wire identified the man accused of posting the controversial pro-Hindu image on Whatsapp as 20-year-old student Abhishek Hiremath, 20.
“The police informed [the Wire] reporters that Hiremath had been arrested when the violence began, but the mob wanted tougher action against him,” according to the news site.
Hubbali Police also arrested Hiremath’s classmate who circulated the screenshot of his Whatsapp status [to fellow Muslims in Hubbali]“, reported the Wire.
“Among those arrested is the husband of an AIMIM councilor in the city, the party led by Muslim extremist Asaduddin Owaisi,” right-wing news site OpIndia reported on April 18.
“[The] Karnataka’s chief minister has alleged plans for a bigger conspiracy behind the attacks. He suggested that the attacks could be planned in advance,” OpIndia revealed on Monday.