08/24/2012, 00.00
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Hindu nationalists, not Pakistan, behind Assam hate text messages

At least 20 per cent of the web pages blocked by the Indian government came from radical Hindutva groups. Pictures and videos showed doctored self-immolations from Tibet with inflammatory captions. Ultranationalist Hindus tried this way to increase their influence among Tribals in northeast India.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A group of ultranationalist Hindus uploaded at least 20 per cent of the web pages containing messages and pictures about events in Assam, The Times of India reported. Pakistan, which India had initially blamed, is thus off the hook. Indian authorities blocked more than 250 pages posted online on websites or personal accounts on social networks to stop the wave of panic that could have provoked the largest mass exodus in Indian history. The investigation has revealed that many text messages sent to Assamese migrants came from phone numbers owned by ultranationalist Hindus.

Doctored posts showed images or videos of alleged atrocities against tribal Bodos by Muslims as acts of revenge for July's interethnic clashes in Assam.

Sources in the agencies involved in scanning the Internet and blocking inflammatory web pages said several posts had pictures or videos of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting against Chinese occupation. In several of these posts, images were cropped to remove the background but were captioned as atrocities against "Assamese Hindus".

But that is not all. According to the agencies, a radical Hindu group inspired by Dara Singh, the murderer of Australian missionary Graham Staines, began spreading a rumour that clashes in Assam was the work of Christian missionary who had allegedly provided the Bodos with weapons.

For the authorities, it is clear that several ultranationalist Hindu groups "see the present conflict as the best situation to make inroads in the north-east. The attempt is also at polarizing the entire nation as Indians versus immigrant Muslims to gain political ground," an official said.

As evidence, they point to the fact that whilst the country was up in arms against Pakistan, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a radical Hindu group, was offering food and help to workers from the northeast trying to leave Bangalore, reassuring them that they would protect them.

Another group, the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), also set up a 24-hour helpline for students from Assam.


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