Following devastating floods in Assam, a number of claims blaming the Muslim community for the alleged man-made destruction have been circulating on social media.
Muslims have been accused of “flood Jihad” for allegedly tampering with flood barricades. One of the persons to be booked for the same identified as Nazir Hussain Laskar. He has been associated with strengthening the flood barricades in Assam for several years.
Laskar was arrested on charges of damaging public property. Assam was struck by two waves of floods in June and July this year, that claimed 192 lives and destroyed several houses. However, social media users, without proof, claimed that Muslims were responsible for the floods.
Apart from Nazir, three other Muslims have been arrested for allegedly “creating floods” in Silchar, which is dominated by Hindus. On 23 May, an embankment was damaged on the Barak River, which flows through northeast India and eastern Bangladesh.
The breach of the flood defences occurred in a Muslim-majority area called Bethukandi, a Muslim-dominated area. The breach reportedly caused floods in Silchar. It is to be noted that construction of embankments has been central to flood management in Assam since the 1950s.
The state has over 4,000 kilometres of embankments, however most of these are damage prone.
Nazir spent 20 days in prison for allegedly breaking the flood barriers, despite zero proof. “I have spent 16 years working for the government to build embankments,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC. “Why would I damage one?” he asked.