Sunday, February 14, 2016

India's home minister, Delhi Police under cloud, use "fake" twitter account to alert JNU students' terror link

By Our Representative
Following the “exposure” by political activists that the BJP student-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) acted as agent provocateurs, shouting “Pakistan zindabad” slogans, India’s home minister Rajnath Singh is under cloud for using a fake Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed to showcase how the protesting Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students had “terrorist” support.
Talking with newspersons, Singh said, “Unfortunate that JNU incident has been supported by LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed. Nation must also accept the reality that incident that took place in JNU, has been supported by LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. Nobody should try to achieve political benefits from such incidents.”
He added, “I have given clear instruction that strict action must be taken against anyone who’s found guilty but innocent people must not be harassed.”
No sooner Singh came up with the statement, social media was abuzz with how Singh’s “extraordinary” statement that Saeed extended his support to the protesting JNU students was actually based on a fake tweet posted from a parody account of Hafiz Saeed on February 12.
It was pointed out, Delhi Police used this tweet to go on the social media platform to warn students ‘not to get carried away’ by seditious message, asking its counterparts in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangaluru, Kolkata, take note of the development.
The Delhi Police asked the social media users to share this tweet widely, saying, “This is to alert and sensitize the student community and across the country. Do not get carried away by seditious anti-national rhetoric. Abetment of any kind of anti-national activity is a punishable law.”

Top journalists react

Prominent journalists, who are usually quite controlled in confirming or denying on such events, immediately questioned Singh and Delhi Police for using a fake account to create confusion, using their twitter accounts.
Rajdeep Sardesai said, “A fake Twitter handle of Hafiz Saeed being cited and then used by home minister? Banana republic or what? Some rationality please.”
Barkha Dutt wondered, “Was Home Minister comment on Hafiz Saeed link to JNU protests based on a fake Twitter account? This would be funny if it weren’t so serious.”
Sagarika Ghose commented, “Police reacted to fake tweet and Rajnath Singh  took a cue. Sirs, genuine handles don't deactivate themselves so fast. Mr Home Minister of India, its a fake account… #HafizSaeed. Is this govt gormless or simply ghoulish?”
And, Shekhar Gupta asked, “Is there any law/conduct rules in police spreading panic thru rumour, innuendo or, honestly, plain stupidity?”
The Opposition parties, meanwhile, slammed Singh for comments on Saeed, with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal saying, “What is happening is extremely dangerous.”
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, “The Union Home Minister has made a very serious allegation about terrorists ‘backing’ JNU protests. We hope that he has concrete proof.”
Former Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, too asked Singh to prove his claim, tweeting, “The Home Minister must go public with the evidence collected that enabled him to level this charge against the JNU students.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep S Surjewala wondered, “When Home Minister of the country, with all intelligence inputs, misleads the country based on Twitter gossip, who does one trust?”
Even the BJP "technically" agreed that the twitter account used by Singh and Delhi Police may be fake. It said it is not important "technically by which sources and on what basis government decides to something" and therefore should not be "subject of public debate", adding, "Technically this subject has no basis  and totally inappropriate."

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