Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Arshdeep Singh episode: AltNews’ Zubair faces police complaint

Mohammed Zubair and Manjinder Singh Sirsa

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that a police complaint has been filed against Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair for allegedly working in tandem with Pakistan agencies and setting a ‘Khalistan’ narrative against cricketer Arshdeep Singh over India vs Pakistan match.

In the police complaint, Sirsa pointed out how some of the tweets shared by Zubair were from accounts that were very new and quite likely created for the sole purpose of tweeting such Khalistani narrative. He said how Zubair tweet was amplified by Pakistanis to fuel anti-Sikh sentiments and defame India as well as to spread unrest. He urged the Delhi Police commissioner to file an FIR against Zubair and initiate investigation.

Earlier, he had said that a police complaint will be filed against Zubair for propagating the ‘Khalistani’ agenda.

Sirsa pointed out how Mohammed Zubair had obtained screenshots with the search word ‘Khalistani’ to claim that Arshdeep was being abused and called Khalistani by angry Indian cricket fans after India lost to Pakistan in the Asia Cup match on September 4, 2022.

Sirsa further said that Zubair’s tweets were used by Pakistani agencies to defame India and fuel hate against Sikhs in India. He added that this move by Zubair was a planned conspiracy to create communal disharmony in India. Sirsa also demanded an inquiry into who all supported Zubair in creating this ‘Khalistani’ agenda.

Other than the tweets shared by Mohammed Zubair, there was also a targeted effort to vandalise Wikipedia page of Arshdeep from IP addresses based in Pakistan. When you check the history of the changes made on Wikipedia, you can see who changed it and which IP was used for the change.

OpIndia verified the changes and found out that an unregistered user on Wikipedia with IP address made the changes. The changes included Country Name (from India to Khalistan Punjab), Name (Arshdeep Singh to Major Arshdeep Singh Bajwa), Birth Place (Mohali, Punjab, India to Mohali, Punjab, Khalistan) and more. Even in the Wikipedia page’s body, Times of India was changed to Times of Khalistan, and wherever there was mention of India, it was changed to Khalistan. The changes were reverted by Wikipedia editors within a couple of minutes.

Union Minister of State for Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that such deliberate efforts to spread misinformation harms India’s security and no intermediary can be permitted to operate such.

Earlier in the day, the ministry summoned Wikipedia executives in India and sought an explanation of the incident where someone changed the entry to say that the young cricketer is associated with ‘Khalistanis’. As per media reports, a high-level panel of the IT Ministry that is likely to be led by the IT Ministry secretary, will meet the Wikipedia executives and question them on the checks and balances in place to avoid such edits.

To put things in perspective, Mohammed Zubair shared a part of clip from Times Now debate in May this year wherein ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma had commented on the divine figures of Islam. Triggered by her comments on what is already written in Islamic scriptures, Zubair led an online mob that eventually culminated into riots and many who even mentioned they supported Nupur’s freedom of speech were threatened with beheading where some were even killed by Islamists.

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