Misinformation campaign in Kerala over minority scholarship distribution

Date: 19 January 2021

Category: Hate speech

A three-member group of Christian church groups, including the Syro Malabar Church and the Malankara Syrian Church in Kerala, met the Prime Minister for a direct interaction on 19 January. Among other things such as ‘love jihad’, they alleged that the minority scholarship in Kerala was being disproportionately distributed, with Muslims as the beneficiaries. Cardinal Mar Baselious Cleemus said that the church heads had apprised Modi of the discrepancies in the distribution of scholarships for minority students, insofar that Christian students are getting only 20% of the minority scholarship amount, while another minority community is garnering the rest. The church leadership is of the opinion that the community should get at least 41% of the allocation on the basis of their proportion. However, it has been pointed out by many observers that many of the welfare programs quoted by Christian groups had originally been established exclusively for the Muslim community, based on the findings of the Sachar committee that put their status as even worse than other backward communities. Many of these were later renamed to ‘minority welfare’ programs. The rest of the minority welfare schemes are more or less proportionately distributed, with Christian groups in the state eligible for reservation benefits in both backward and general categories, something that is not available for Muslim communities. Interestingly, despite the simple explanation, neither the chief minister of Kerala nor other members of the government have put out any statement offering clarification on the issue. 

 

Sources:

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-catholic-leaders-meet-pm-discuss-issues-including-love-jihad-141766 

https://www.madhyamam.com/opinion/articles/hate-propaganda-among-christians-697796 

https://www.facebook.com/MediaoneTV/videos/211720667282760/ 


 

Fake allegations that ‘Islamists’ have hijacked farmers’ protest

Date: 19 January 2021

Category: Hate speech

A photograph of a group of women seated onstage in front of a Punjabi banner was shared with the text, “Women power on the Kisan stage – When did the spirited women of Punjab start wearing burqas?” The image was shared to allude a ‘Muslim angle’ to the ongoing farmers’ protests. Twitter user ‘Tinku’ posted the image writing, “These are the ones who will not show their documents.” Hashtags like #Khalistan and #Khalistani were used in the post. Another Twitter user, @ThePushpendra_, tweeted this picture and wrote, “What are these Muslim women doing at the farmers’ protests? What kind of farming do they do?” A website called India Viral shared the picture in one of its articles, claiming that the farmers’ movement has been taken over by ‘Islamists’ and others who follow the faith. It also questions whether those wearing the burqas are actually women. The article makes every effort to discredit the movement. However, fact-check queries revealed that Muslim women had joined demonstrations at the Tikri border in support of the protesting farmers. A photo of this incident was shared on social media with a misleading claim. In fact, there have been several such attempts to suggest that the protests have been hijacked by Muslims.

 

Sources:

https://www.altnews.in/muslim-women-join-in-support-of-farmer-protest-image-shared-to-give-communal-narrative/

 

Bangladeshi short film scenes shared to claim sexual abuse in Indian madrasas

Date: 30 October 2020

Category: Hate speech

A set of photographs of a man who seems to be sexually harassing a girl was widely circulating on social media with the claim that the incident took place in a madrasa. The Hindi caption leads people to assume that the video is from India. Several users also opined that madrasas should be closed as the institutions are breeding grounds for such behaviour. The pictures went massively viral on Facebook with the same claim. In reality, the photos were clipped from a video that was described as a Bangla short film. Its duration is 10 minutes and was uploaded on September 21, 2020. The film has more than 2 lakh views. The viral scenes appear 7:20 minutes into the clip.

 

Sources:

https://www.altnews.in/visuals-from-bangladesh-short-film-shared-with-false-claim-to-target-madarsa-in-india/ 

 

Videos of sexual harassers from Pakistan target madrasas in India

Date: 23 October 2020

Category: Hate speech

Two videos went viral on social media. In the first, a man is seen physically abusing a girl. A user named Uma Shankar Rajput shared the clip, writing, “Shut down these madrasas which have become the dens of obscenity. Those who always offer commentary about saints are requested to speak up about this as well.” The tweet was liked at least 2,400 times. While the accompanying claim does not explicitly state where the incident took place, several believe it to be from India. Rajput, in fact, talked about the Muslim community in India after his tweet carrying the video. In another video, a woman slaps an elderly Muslim man and asks him to apologise. She alleges that the man was touching her inappropriately. He can also be heard apologising later on. This video also made its way to Facebook. “The maulvi of a madrasa molested a girl in a moving bus! The girl gave him a tight slap and asked him to apologise,” reads the accompanying message. Same as earlier, those sharing the video have not clarified where the incident occurred. A fact-check by AltNews found that both these videos were from Pakistan and quoted newspaper reports verifying the same. 

 

Sources:

https://www.altnews.in/old-videos-from-pakistan-shared-to-target-madarsa-in-india/ 

 

Social media posts wrongly claim Mumbai police saluting dargah for first time under Shiv Sena

Date: 15 January 2021

Category: Hate speech

A video of a group of policemen saluting Hazrat Pir Makhdoom Ali Mahim circulated on social media with the claim that these are Mumbai police cops paying their respects to the Sufi saint for the first time because of the Shiv Sena. A Facebook page named Bakauli shared the video with this claim, besides several other users on Twitter and Facebook. However, it was found that this is not the first time that the Mumbai police has paid respects to Hazrat Pir Mahim by offering a sacred sheet at the Mahim Dargah, which is dedicated to the saint. For the past several years, Mumbai police has been offering sheets on the occasion of Urs (Makhdoom Shah Baba’s death anniversary). In fact, there are videos of when the event was held in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 2014 to 2019 thus the occasion was held during BJP’s rule as well.

 

Sources:

https://www.altnews.in/fact-check-shivsena-mumbai-police-paying-homage-mahim-dargah/ 

 

‘Doctors give life, Markaz gives disease’, reads Republic Bharat headline during Covid-19 debate

Date: 31 March 2020

Category: Hate speech

A ‘Poochtha Hoon Bharat’ episode hosted by Arnab Goswami on Republic Bharat was broadcast with blatantly Islamophobic captions, including ‘doctors give life, Markaz gives disease’, ‘How many Corona Markaz?’, ‘Markaz Became Corona Period’, ‘Name Markaz, Job Pandemic? and, ‘Markaz or A Corona Conspiracy?’ The host also screamed at the convenor of the Nizamuddin  Markaz to “lower his voice” and alleged that “”you people” had already created enough trouble all over the nation.

 

Sources: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGZuNqQp6S0 

 

Delhi restaurants trolled for giving food to Rohingya refugees

Date: 23 October 2020

Category: Hate speech

Three restaurants in Delhi were trolled and threatened on social media for distributing food to Rohingya refugees residing in Jasola on the occasion of Navratri. Shivam Sehgal, 25, who owns two of the restaurants - Josh, The High Energy Bar and the Marketplace - told The Quint: “We often collaborate with different NGOs to give back to the society at large. This time too, we went there with good intentions of distributing food to those in need.” Sehgal said the trolling started as soon as news agency ANI put out a tweet saying, “Delhi: Restaurant owners distribute food amongst Rohingya refugees in navaratras.” “Within three hours of the tweet, there were about a thousand comments and 500 quote tweets, majority of which were hateful and slamming us for feeding Rohingya Muslims,” says Sehgal. The comment section of the ANI tweet shows many asking for a shutdown and boycott of the “restaurants for providing food to Rohingya Muslims.” He added, “I started getting calls on the restaurant phone number asking me why I decided to give food to illegal immigrants. I tried to reason with each of them. Soon, they started rating us negatively in Zomato.” He said, “The refugees included people from different communities and not just Muslims. And even if it had included just Muslims, what is the problem in providing food to the needy?”

 

Sources:

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/delhi-restaurants-trolled-for-giving-food-to-rohingya-refugees#read-more 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/restaurants-trolled-for-giving-food-to-rohingya-refugees/articleshow/78797303.cms 

 

Zee News calls madrasas centres of ‘terrorism’

Date: 21 October 2020

Category: Hate speech

During a show aired on 21 October 2020, the host of Zee News show ‘Taal Thok Ke’ Aman Chopra attacked madrasas and asked why a common citizen was expected to pay for the “education of terrorists”. The discussion was in the context of the Assam government shutting down all government-run madrasas as part of its policy against religious education. “Tax ki kamai, jihad ki padhai,” (Earning taxes, teaching jihad) said Chopra on madrasas. BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma was quick to suggest that even the main accused of the Pulwama terror attack allegedly studied from a madrasa. “Modi ji’s plan is to introduce skill education in these madrasas and to bring them into mainstream, that is why the government has increased 83 per cent budget allocation,” she claimed.

 

Sources:

https://theprint.in/plugged-in/primetime/arnab-goswami-on-endgamepakistan-and-zee-news-attacks-madrasas-for-jihad-ki-padhai/528635/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cis89cg099c 

 

NCW chairperson tweets about ‘love jihad’, petition filed for her removal

Date: 29 October 2020

Category: Discrimination

A petition was filed before the Bombay High Court on 28 October seeking a direction to remove Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), over her tweet on ‘love jihad’. The plea quotes the tweet by Ms. Sharma: “Our Chairperson @sharmarekha met with Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, His Excellency, Governor of Maharashtra & discussed issues related to #womensafety in the state including defunct One Stop Centres, molestation & rape of women patients at #COVID centres & rise in love jihad cases.” Saket Gokhale, a social activist, filed the petition stating that NCW is meant to be an independent body for protection of women’s rights, and its Chairperson engaging in such blatantly communal and divisive discourse casts aspersions on the body’s ability to act in a non-partisan and secular manner. The invocation of “rising cases of love jihad by the Chairperson, when no such cases even exist, points to a communal dog whistle policy which is intended to target the Muslim community, vilify inter-faith couples, and create discord in society”, it said. In response to a request made under the Right to Information Act in November 2020, the National Commission for Women revealed that it did not maintain data on “love jihad” cases, throwing its own earlier claim in this regard into question.

 

Sources:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/plea-against-ncw-chairperson-over-love-jihad-tweet/article32967524.ece 

https://thewire.in/communalism/love-jihad-ncw-maharashtra-rekha-sharma 

https://clarionindia.net/ncw-chief-discusses-love-jihad-maharashtra-guv-tweet-triggers-storm/ 

 

BJP slams Congress for fielding AMU ex-student president, calls him ‘Jinnah supporter’

Date: 16 October 2020

Category: Hate speech

A day after releasing its final list of candidates for the Bihar assembly election, the Congress party came under attack from the BJP for fielding former Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student leader Maskoor Usmani as a candidate. “Congress and Mahagathbandhan leaders have to answer the country if the Jale candidate supports Jinnah. Congress and Mahagathabndhan have to tell if they also support Jinnah? Will Sharjeel Imam be their star campaigner?” BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh said. Upset over not being given a ticket, Rishi Mishra, son of former Union Minister L.N Mishra, questioned the Congress leadership for giving a ticket to “anti-national and Jinnah worshipper”. Usmani shot to fame in May 2018 when the AMU found itself mired in a controversy over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the university premises. Violence had erupted in the university campus after the then BJP Aligarh MP Satish Gautam wrote to the university vice-chancellor objecting to the portrait. The AMU Students’ Union, however, had maintained that Jinnah’s portrait had been hanging in the university since 1938 — when he was given honorary membership of the students’ union, as were several other leaders of the time. Usmani alleges that the BJP is scared of how the Congress is “giving an opportunity to young Muslims” in the state polls.

 

Sources:

https://theprint.in/politics/congress-under-attack-for-giving-ticket-to-jinnah-supporter-maskoor-usmani-in-bihar/525181/ 

https://indianexpress.com/elections/bihar-elections-2020-maskoor-usmani-amu-student-congress-candidate-bjp-remarks-nda-6758744/ 

 

‘I have a problem if Islam, Catholicism want to convert Hindus,’ says prominent businessman

Date: 21 January 2021

Category: Discrimination

Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala said he has “a problem if Islam or Catholicism want to convert Hindus” wading into an issue that has acquired a political colour recently with the introduction of “love jihad” laws by some states. In an interview with The Print’s Shekhar Gupta, Jhunjhunwala said he is a liberal by belief and does not have a problem with anyone’s belief or views unless it “infringes on other people’s religion or freedom of thought.” “I have a problem if Islam or Catholicism want to convert Hindus. I don't mind who you believe in. Allah is God to me, Krishna is God to me, Jesus is God to me. I don't want you and others to try to make me a bhakt (believer) of Allah… I won't accept it if you say we are kayars (cowards). I'm most liberal in thought and I respect everybody's culture, everybody's thought, everybody's food and everybody's dress," Jhunjhunwala said.

 

Sources:

https://www.cnbctv18.com/india/rakesh-jhunjhunwala-has-a-problem-if-islam-catholicism-want-to-convert-hindus-8073101.htm 

https://theprint.in/theprint-otc/be-bold-dont-impose-taxes-market-guru-rakesh-jhunjhunwala-to-sitharaman-ahead-of-budget/589619/ 

 

Afrazul Khan’s murderer uploads hate videos from jail

Date: 17 December 2018

Category: Hate speech

The Supreme Court has asked the Rajasthan government to explain as to how some videos of hate speech were uploaded on the Internet from Jodhpur jail premises by Shambhu Lal Regar, who is accused of hacking and burning alive a Muslim labourer from West Bengal. Regar, who had murdered Khan on December 6 last year, is lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail and allegedly recorded the video inside the prison. In the new video, Regar claimed that his life is under threat from one Vasudev Brahman, a criminal from West Bengal. "This is the last message of my life. I am writing from Jodhpur Central jail... The jail authorities have kept me in the most secured cells. Some days later one criminal named Vasudev Brahman from West Bengal came and started staying with me. For the first two-three days, he did not look at me. Slowly, he started talking to me. He started badmouthing Islam and started getting close to me. I started doubting him. When I found out about his violent past, I was stunned. He was caught selling drugs in Jodhpur with a fake name and identity. He wants to kill me (sic)," Regar is seen saying in the video being circulated on social media. In the video, Regar is seen wearing earphones and appears to be reading out a scripted text. He alleges that Vasudev Brahmin is not the person's real name and that the individual is after his life to kill him. "He is trying to kill me. But I am not afraid. If he is willing to die for religion, I am ready too," he says. In another video,  Regar is seen speaking like a Hindu fanatic for several minutes, calling upon Hindus to stand united and bring “Ram Rajya” in India. “This is my last video being shot in Jodhpur jail. I call all Hindus to unite and fight against ‘jihad’. They (Hindus) should not get divided on caste and creed lines,” he says. Regar is seen saying that he could not tolerate threats to Hindu women from jihadi forces and hence came to help one of them. In the video, he states that his life was under threat from a fellow prisoner, Vasudev Brahmin. “We should copy the working style of Israel to protect our country and the religion,” he says. He is also seen requesting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to not enrich her vote bank at the cost of country and religion. “People like Vasudev Brahmin, who are jihadis, are taking Hindus towards finish,” he says.

 

Sources:

https://www.timesnownews.com/india/video/shocking-cold-blooded-rajasthan-hacker-shambhulal-regar-films-video-inside-the-jail-claims-threat-to-life/200599 

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/afrazul-murder-sc-seeks-explanation-from-rajasthan-govt-on-accused-reportedly-uploading-videos-from-jail-118121700762_1.html 

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/dec/18/rajasthan-hate-crime-sc-seeks-explanation-on-hate-speech-videos-uploaded-from-jail-by-accused-shamb-1912912.html 

https://munsifdaily.in/12176-2/ 

 

Times Now report claims to have ‘exposed the fiction of Islamophobia’ in India

Date: 11 May 2020

Category: Hate speech

A show called Newshour Debate hosted by Navika Kumar of Times Now denied that Islamophobic attacks have increased in the aftermath of the outbreak of Covid-19 and that Muslims believing this had merely fallen prey to a plot orchestrated by hatemongerers. Broadcast with the caption #IslamophobiaLiesExposed, Kumar called on 183 “patriots” to refute these claims as ‘Lutyen lies’ and a plot to ‘malign Hindus’. The increased attacks on Muslims, specifically in the context of Delhi’s Tablighi Jamat being declared a Covid hotspot, has been systematically recorded and published by national and international news outlets. A major part in fanning this hatred was played by TV channels and publications like Times Now itself, which used inflammatory and Islamophobic language vilifying the whole Tablighi Jamat community and Muslims. 

 

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_NdezKGQEI 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/5/15/indian-media-accused-of-islamophobia-for-its-coronavirus-coverage 

 

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