WhatsApp or RumourApp: Makeshift Masjid demolished, Journalist thrashed after fake rumours on WhatsApp and Facebook


How many Hindu warriors are ready for a holy war? Do not click ‘like’, write comments on the post.” Chandan Singh on his Facebook post which gathered mob to demolish the mosque.

Brick structure of under construction Mosque being demolished (Photo : Video grab / Two circles)

On 7th June Mill Gazette a digital publication posted a video on their page in which a mob was seen demolishing a make shift mosque.

The demolition in itself wouldn’t command any serious outcry, it could just have been another communal flare up in the cow belt.


But this incident just goes on to further show how the recent trend of social media and WhatsApp being used to flare up tensions and incite violence is picking up in activity.

Propaganda messages were heavily circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook to demolish the make shift mosque among the Hindu people of the locality before the demolition had actually occurred.

The Pakistan propaganda

To investigate this case further Basit Malik a freelance journalist reporting for the monthly magazine Caravan had visited the locality and the site of the demolished make shift mosque.
At first the people in the locality who opposed the make shift masjid and justified it’s demolition by telling him that Muslims in the locality were getting funds from Pakistan to construct the masjid.

Then when they realised that he was Muslim and hails from Kashmir he was thrashed by a mob. Video of this was made and circulated online in which Basit was made to say Say ‘Pakistan murdabad!’ [Down with Pakistan]!” one of them instructed. “Say ‘Hindustan zindabad!’ [Long Live India]”.
The crowd later handed him to the police, where allegedly the constable asked Basit

How far is your house from Pakistan?
After this incident Basit left for Kashmir without filing a police complaint to get himself treated.

This only fits into the larger narrative of how police is now becoming a bystander by ignoring the growing pattern of communally incited violence.

Maybe it’s because of the present puppet media which Arun Shourie so correctly called North Korean TV channels that society is bending in this direction.
Basit only 23 had come to Delhi leaving all the hardships back home to be a Journalist and had worked very hard to get to report with Caravan.

Build up to the demolition.

Of the 70 Muslim families at least 25 come and pray at the mosque.
The tensions according to Akbar Ali who owns the 100 sqft plot of the mosque had started from June 1. In his words “Tension started brewing in the area on June 1, some Hindu residents had started circulating messages through WhatsApp and Facebook seeking support for demolishing the structure.
A call for solidarity in that regard was issued by Chandan Singh, a resident of this society.

A  Facebook post on June 1, Chandan Singh asked, “How many Hindu warriors are ready for a holy war? Do not click ‘like’, write comments on the post.

Screen shots of Chandan Singh who is accused for inciting mob to demolish makeshift mosque (image : Scroll.in)

This might sound ambiguous but later in the comments he clarified that he was talking about a mosque that was being built in the society.

He asked for people to support him and immediately leave to help him in this regard and to this call many responded in his support. He was one of the people involved in the demolition of the mosque who was later arrested but now is out on bail.


One of other such messages was purportedly sent from the account of Pradeep Singh which roughly read as

[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=”750″]”Sad news :- There is an area called Chauhan Patti near Delhi’s Sabhapur village. Most of its residents are Hindu. There are only 8-10 homes of Muslims. In one of the lanes, a Muslim man owns a plot of 90 yards but he does not live here. He has started the construction of a mosque by building a 5-feet wall, which is illegal since there aren’t enough Muslims in the area. The man has brought Muslims from other areas to offer namaz here. This has angered local people and the situation might grow tense in the days to come. Muslims from outside are trying to encourage the Muslims of Ambay colony in Chauhan Patti. Therefore, a request to all Hindu organisations to unite to prevent the Islamic developments in the area.”[/box]

However Pradeep Singh denied that he had sent any such message and alleged that someone else from the locality did it in his name as he is well known in the society for being a social worker and being the member of Hindustan Nirmaan Dal.

He also said that he had contested the municipal elections from that locality earlier this year. He claimed that he was in his native village in Jagdishpur while the incident occurred.

Him and Akbar Ali were issued a notice asking to appear before the special Executive Magistrate. Singh claimed the plot on which the mosque stood did not belong to Akbar Ali. “It belonged to a Hindu man who is now dead and his family never returned to lay claim to the plot,” Singh alleged. “There used to be a temple here earlier.”
Singh, who has been living in Ambey Enclave for seven years, said he “knows these facts through neighbours who have lived here for long”.

Blind eye

Akbar Ali and another resident of the locality Sher Ali had atleast four days before the incident had written to the SHO of Sonia Vihar regarding the communal tension there. But there complaint was not acted upon and the police remained unmoved.

Situation Serious

After a series of complaints and counter complaints the court has ordered the SHO of Sonia Vihar to seal the plot. It is alleged that Akbar Ali did not have the permission to build the mosque in the area and that he was stealing electricity. The police told the court that they did not issue a permission in writing to the Magistrate.

But Sher Ali after getting permission from Akbar for the mosque had gone to the police station for permission to construct a makeshift mosque and Akbar Ali also says that after two days the police had come to inspect the plot and had not issued any reservations on the proposal to construct the mosque.
In his own words said, “I did not think the police would given us written permission but we had to inform them. Also, the police did not raise any objection until the incident happened.”


Light weight charges

After all this the main accessed in the demolition Chandan Singh, Malkan and Sanjeev were charged only under sections relating to house trespass and “mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50”, when they had incited communal violence, demolition of holy place or as activities which are likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among members of religious, regional or racial groups.

When approached the police, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Delhi) AK Singla said “The case is still under investigation and so far it does not qualify for other charges relating to hurting religious sentiments, If required, further sections can be added“.

Watch the video below

(Note : This article was first published on Scroll.in)



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