Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When person abusing your faith turns out to be a co-religionist: Social media's illusions and internet crimes

The person abuses your faith online, posts objectionable messages and shares photographs that are so inflammatory that it is not proper to describe them.

You get angry and disturbed. You may write angry comments to him, argue, tell him to stop or shut up.

But did you ever imagine that he also belongs to your own faith? And that he is still doing it because he had a purpose!

May be, he has certain psychological issues or wants to defame someone and hence assumed a false identity.

So he is using it to post objectionable things to defame that person. Did  you consider this option?

And when you know the truth, do you realise you were unnecessarily spending energies and were getting mad at 'people of other religion'. That's the online world.

On internet, especially, social media, there is no dearth of people who suffer from 'attention deficit disorder' or who just love to 'irk others'. Such mischief-makers feel its a prank but don't they realise consequences!

For them, perhaps, it's a spectacle to watch when others keep fighting on their Facebook wall over a photo or message, as they themselves watch with glee, and perhaps pat themselves on their back for making others fight.

Man who caused communal riots, arrested

This is a real story and has lessons for all. A morphed photograph was circulated on social media by a person, which led to riot.

Then, there was a second round of rioting. There were deaths during the violence and the victims were both Hindu and Muslim.

The person who was behind the post, used a Hindu ID to post against Muslims, and then used Muslim ID to circulate messages against Hindus. For weeks, the entire town remained on edge.

The man used a BJP leader's ID on Facebook to post, anti-Muslim message. It is so easy in those days, you can create a leader's page or fan page yourself. But that's criminal act.

The law-and-order situation was such that police from adjoining places had to be called. There was widening communal divide and tension.


Finally, the police and cyber experts, managed to trace him. It was found that he was ordinary youth. He was Nitesh Verma, a simply, guy next door--who was doing post-graduation in computer applications (PDGCA).

On internet, he used 'Hindu ID to abuse Muslims' and 'Muslim ID to abuse Hindus'. Why he did it? The investigators found that he had very few friends. He didn't come out of his house. He lacked self-confidence.

*On July 2, he used Naved Khan's id to post photo that hurt Hindu sentiments
*On July 19, he hacked Anurag Soni's id to upload photos that hurt Muslims
*On July 30, he hacked Altaf Abbai's photo and posted BJP leader's photo to make hateful comments against Muslims
*Earlier, he  had hacked Sagar Verma's id to upload objectionable content

His brother had committed suicide and he blamed certain youths of the locality. He was angry with them and as he felt he was not strong enough to take on them, he planned 'the revenge' in this way. He thought he would hack their IDs or create their fake IDs for spreading messages that would hurt them badly.

The results were too serious: Communal violence and deaths. Verma is in jail now. It can be any one, a Nitesh Verma or a Naeem Khan. Just that we need to learn the lessons right from this episode. Cyber safety, understanding online behaviour and the need for spreading awareness about it.

One hopes that in coming years, people will learn cyber etiquette. However, what one must do right now. First, stop getting irritated.

If the posts are incendiary, 'report' the person. You can also ignore or block them on Facebook. If there is a fear that communal harmony can be disrupted, inform the authorities. They generally take care of the rest.


1. Youth behind inflammatory messages, posts arrested
2. Nav Bharat Times report on communal violence, curfew, death
3. Riot leaves one dead, six injured in Khandwa over Facebook comment

[This happened just a few months back--in July/August 2014]