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How an engineering dropout posed as woman on Facebook for 8 yrs, ‘peddled hate’ & misled all

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Ravi Pujar (right) and a secreenshot of the fake profile he operated for 8 years
Ravi Pujar (right) and a secreenshot of the fake profile he operated for 8 years


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New Delhi: “Nisha Jindal” was quite a Facebook celebrity, with over 10,000 followers and 4,000 “friends”, and posts that were allegedly often provocative and incendiary.

However, ‘her’ social media presence has been discovered to be one big charade after an allegedly misleading post about the Covid-19 pandemic

Ravi Pujar, who was arrested from Raipur Friday, is said to have told police that he did it all for fun. He has been booked under Sections 153 A and 295A of IPC, which pertain to promoting enmity and outraging religious feelings, besides relevant sections of the Information Technology Act

Among his over 10,000 followers and nerarly 4,000 friends were some IAS and IPS officers of Chhattisgarh, according to the police.

To ensure his galaxy of followers know the truth, police got Pujar to post a photo of himself from the account with the following caption: “I am Nisha Jindal and I am in police custody.”

The post has since gone viral, with more than 8,000 likes. 

Senior police officers involved in his arrest told ThePrint that they started monitoring the profile after receiving some tipoffs about its posts of communal nature. 

“He had been posting some communal messages along with pictures of sanitisers and masks. One senior IAS officer also sent me his communal posts,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arif Sheikh, one of the personnel who arrested Ravi. 

Then, the police claimed, they sensed something amiss last month when a post from the account claimed the “WHO is going to donate 10,000 ventilators to India”. 

“We had been keeping an eye on him since last month. He got us confused because one day he would pose as a WHO adviser, then as a UN Security Council co-adviser, a scholar from Harvard University… and next day he would post photos of masks distribution,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Pankaj Chandra. 

Following the WHO post, Chandra added, “We began to wonder who this person is. We also wrote to Facebook, but didn’t get any reply. So, we started tracing him with the help of cyber experts.” 

According to Chandra, the police also called up some of the international institutions where “Jindal” claimed to work. “When they denied a Nisha Jindal works with them, we realised the truth may be something else.”


Also Read: How DD & AIR are helping bust fake news around COVID-19 and creating awareness


An engineering dropout

Posts on Pujar’s Facebook profile, which featured Pakistani actress Mirha Pasha’s photo as the display picture, were not restricted to communal content. Sometimes, they appeared to woo potential suitors — “I am a 35-year-old young, beautiful and single lady”. 

At other times, they sought to emphasise Jindal’s purported stellar credentials as an expert of international renown, associated with such bodies as the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund. 

To make the profile seem more legitimate, Pujar allegedly created as many as six fake IDs of purported family members.

Police have seized four mobile phones and a laptop from Pujar. 

According to police, Pujar is an engineering dropout who enrolled for a BE course in 2009, but could never pass. When he was arrested, they said, he only made two remarks, “I used to do all this for fun” and “People would have never appreciated my intellectual capacity if I had posted as my own self. So, I started posting as a woman.”

The son of a government employee, he is said to belong to a “humble family” that, according to police, was “humiliated” when they found out about his shenanigans.

The Nisha Jindal Facebook ID is now being probed and all the information being copied, the police told ThePrint, adding the profile will be deleted after his interrogation. Tech experts are restoring the deleted chats for further information. 


Also Read: Bust fake news, ensure positive Covid-19 media coverage: Task for new govt empowered group


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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