GUWAHATI: Sarbhog, a town in lower Assam’s Barpeta which is around 145 kilometre west of state capital Guwahati, witnessed a massive protest over a Facebook post which carried comments against India and against people who follow Hinduism on Sunday evening. Rightly so, people were in deep anger.

In the evening, a mob chased one Ahedul Ali, a petty poultry trader, who was believed to post those comments on Facebook from his account. Terrified Ali took shelter at the police station and the protestors broke down Ali's shop and set it on fire.

Gradually, the protestors gathered in front of the police station in demand of Ali. The mob wanted to teach him a “lesson” for making such statements. Social media was flooded with demands for strict punishment for Ali. Many went up to the extent of stating he should be hanged in public. Hate speech against the Muslims flooded the media.

Luckily, Ahedul was kept with the police and investigation began. The next day, on June 4, it was found that one Jyotish Nath, who wrote the hate post from Ali’s account.

The post carried anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. It also carried words against Hinduism.

Police immediately arrested Nath and kept him in custody. Police told the media that Nath has admitted to doing the post from Ali’s Facebook account.

“Nath had opened the Facebook account for Ali a few months back. Due to their personal rivalry, Nath misused the account for revenge. We urge people not to fell prey to such elements,” said a police officer.

Barpeta Superintendent of Police Violet Baruah said that the police will take strict action.

“It’s a sensitive time when the state is going to announce the draft of NRC (National Register of Citizens). Many would try to bring disturbances by indulging in this kind of activities. We are on alert to avert any such activities. We will also keep an eye at the mob vandalism,” Baruah said.

Police claimed that Nath has no political affiliation. Nath has been slapped sections of IT Act and IPC.

Similar activities are on the rise and Assam police Pallav Bhattacharyya, ADGP of special branch said that state police will keep a strict eye on such evil doers on social media.

Ali is now shattered at the development. The poor trader has lost his source of daily livelihood to mob rage.

“I didn’t realize such things could happen to me. I never expected someone whom I know could do such cheap things. I was scared and it will take some time to get over this trauma. I pray no one faces such situation,” a terrified Ali said.

On Tuesday, however, locals with the help of CPI (M) unit helped Ali to re-establish his shop.

The locals of Sarbhog have appealed to people across the state to be careful and not to fall victim of such misdeeds.

This is not the lone incident on similar lines. In the recent past several rumours have been spread…. starting from throwing beef at temple premises and hoisting ISIS flags. Local media reported that at least six BJP workers were detained by police for questioning after a flag of ISIS was found to be hung at a tree in Nalbari district just a few weeks ago.

Tridib Nilim Dutta, a Guwahati based journalist said that such practice of portraying the Muslims in a bad light has been an old practice.

“Be it at Sarbhog or in any other places, there is a trend to portray Muslims as either criminals or terrorists. There have been several instances of this. Even state machinery believes in the narration as several eviction drives were carried out in some places in that line,” Dutta said.