Smoke billows from burning tyres and pallets and fireworks as a few hundred protesters riot in the Rosengard neighbourhood of Malmo, Sweden, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.
Smoke billows from burning tyres and pallets and fireworks as a few hundred protesters riot in the Rosengard neighbourhood of Malmo, Sweden, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.
Photo: PTI

In recent days, Twitter has become the ultimate place to air your opinions, in many cases inviting dozens of vitriolic or abusive epithets simply because another individual disagrees. And while this rather unfortunate trend seems like it is here to stay, the focus of netizens' ire does seem a tad confusing today.

There is ongoing unrest in the Swedish city of Malmo on Saturday, with more than 300 people having gathered to protest. According to the TT news agency, the violence had followed the burning Friday afternoon of a Quran, near a predominantly migrant neighbourhood, that was carried out by far-right activists and filmed and posted online. While some have been detained for rioting, three individuals have reportedly been arrested on suspicion of inciting hatred.

And for many on Twitter, this follows the "same pattern" as the Delhi and Bengaluru riots from earlier this year. "Same pattern was seen in #DelhiRiots #bangaloreriots. They first offend you and when you retort they get super offended burn down and kill everyone who hasn’t offended anyone," opined actor Kangana Ranaut.

In another post she added that the "intolerance of Islam has made me stop going to mosques".

While some on the social media platform attacked Greta Thunberg and others advocates of global peace for their silence on the matter, others still noted that this was why the Citizenship Amendment Act read as it did.

"Similar kind of violence was seen in #BangaloreRiots and #DelhiRiots but in Sweden mob was even chanting Allahu Akbar! As usual SICKULARS have gone underground to prove terror has no religion!" tweeted BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje.

"Big lesson for Indians who are against the CAA/NRC and want India to open their borders for all immigrants. Think again and react wisely," tweeted BJP leader Gaurav Goel.

"Delhi, Bangalore, Sweden. Same People, Same Reason!!" alleged BJP leader Khemchand Sharma.

And while many have jumped on to the same bandwagon, the problem lies in the fact that these incidents while similar in that they led to protests and at times violent and even deadly clashes, did not begin in the same way. Additionally, these are not the only riots that have taken place over the last few months.

The Delhi riots came amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the associated possibility of a NRC and NPR. The Bengaluru riots appear to have stemmed from an derogatory post against Prophet Muhammad. The police have also said that while this post had been the catalyst, a political turf war of sorts might have had a lot to do with the same. And the Sweden riots have their roots in the attempts of an extremist group to hold a public meeting that was denied permission by the police.

According to reports, a copy of the Qur'an was burnt by a far-right Danish party called Stram Kurs hours after their leader Rasmus Paludan was denied permission to hold a meeting in Malmo about “Islamization in the Nordic countries”. Report suggest that the burning was rumoured to be part of the itinerary.

But what about the riots that haven't found a mention on these social media posts? To name a few, there have been ongoing riots in the United States over police atrocities and injustices against the black community. There have also been massive protests in Belarus against incoming President Alexander Lukashenko. Both these protests have also seen people killed and injured and detained and arrested.

And while one does not have to connect everything that is happening in the world to each other in order to make a point, the fact still remains that while the Sweden riots are the top trending topic on Twitter in India, it does not even make it to the top 3 in the country where the crisis actually is. In Sweden, the death of actor Chadwick Boseman is the top topic of discussion followed by ‘Thailand and K-pop”.

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