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Many Arab handles slamming India are part of ‘Twitter war’ from Pakistan




Screenshots of 'Arab' handles which allegedly run by Pakistanis, which are posting anti-India messages
Screenshots of ‘Arab’ handles which allegedly run by Pakistanis, which are posting anti-India messages

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New Delhi: On 23 April, Twitter suspended an account @SayyidaMona, which appeared to belong to Omani princess Mona bint Fahad, but was allegedly operated by Pakistani users.

The previous day, this account had posted a tweet that went viral for its anti-India stance: “Oman stands with its Muslim brothers and sisters in India. If the Indian Govt doesn’t stop the persecution of Muslims, then 1million workers living in Oman may be expelled. I will definitely take up this issue with the Sultan of Oman. @narendramodi”

The real Princess Mona issued a clarification on 22 April that the viral tweet was not posted by her. The Indian ambassador to Oman, Munu Mahawar, acknowledged the princess on the same day: “I thank HH @MonaFahad13 for clarification on fake social media posts attributed to her. India values its friendly relations with Oman and will continue working closely with the Government and people of Oman to further strengthen our special relationship.”

The suspended account is now believed to have been operated by a Pakistani user, to make it appear as if high profile individuals in the Arab world are turning against India. According to a WION report, the account used to be called @pak_fauj.

But this is not the only such case. Tawab Ghorzang, former spokesperson for the Office of National Security Council of Afghanistan, called it “Twitter war from Pakistan against India”.

“This twitter war from Pak against India, using fake accounts impersonating the members of Arab royal families & spreading religious hatred, could be something new for Ind but not for us,” he wrote.

Another user, @Frontalfire, which “monitors LoK” and “Indo-Pak conflicts/Kashmir”, pointed to a number of such handles.

Also read: Pakistan-linked hackers pose as Indian govt, carry out cyberattacks under Covid-19 cover

Not limited to one account

The anti-India tweets from alleged Arab Twitter handles come after a user, @AlGhurair98, pulled out an old tweet from BJP MP Tejasvi Surya that read: “95% Arab women have never had an orgasm in the last few hundred years!”

On the day the @SayyidaMona handle was suspended, another Twitter account, also believed to be operated by Pakistanis, deleted itself. This account’s name was “Princess Noura bint Faisal” (@NouraAlSaud), and its bio read: “Member of ‘Al Saud’, Parody, Advisor at Ministry of Culture, Founder of KSA Fashion Community”. It had over 13,000 followers.

The fake account @NouraAlSaud had tweeted on 22 April against Surya’s old post about Arab women saying: “Indian Parliamentarian @Tejasvi_Surya posted something disgusting about Arab women. I demand from the Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi that racist Tejasvi Surya be Sacked immediately…”

Also read: Pakistan busy exporting terror while India fights Covid-19 globally: Army chief Naravane

The case of @KahlownYasin

There are possibly more Twitter accounts operated by Pakistanis posing as Arabs to attack India online, Ghorzang alluded in the tweet quoted above.

One of the handles he highlighted was @KahlownYasin, allegedly Pakistani but posing as an Arab.

The account @KahlownYasin stated that the user was based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but Friday afternoon, changed its handle to @002saifullah, as well as its profile picture and its location to Dubai, UAE.

One of this account’s tweets used a picture, purportedly from the Northeast Delhi violence in February, and said: “This is Delhi, once ruled by Muslims is being watched by helpless Muslim after Delhi pogrom.”

Another tweet called the Indian government a “fascist” one.

According to Devesh Kumar, researcher at Reuters Institute, @KahlownYasin was originally an account named @MobeenKahlown. Kumar also pointed to a LinkedIn profile of one Mobeen Yasin Kahlown’, who studied at Faisalabad in Pakistan, but is now working for a Saudi Arabian company. ThePrint could not verify this independently.

Kumar also said the Twitter account now known as @AHMAD_ALWAHIDAH used to be called @pakcomrade. This account, with over 22,000 followers, and purportedly based in Kuwait, tweeted: “Rss party hijacks democracy in india (sic).”

In another tweet, featuring a video of a man being attacked, it said “Rudely, these terrorists document their attacks on this defenseless man !!”, using the hashtag #Islamophobia_In_India”.

Rules for parody and satire accounts 

A Twitter spokesperson told ThePrint that the social media platform’s rules for parody and satire accounts are clear — the bio and the account name “should clearly indicate that the user is not affiliated with the subject of the account”, while “non-affiliation should be stated in a way that can be understood by the intended audience”.

However, in the case of the now-suspended @SayyidaMona account, it would have been impossible for a general user to know beyond doubt that it had no affiliation to the actual princess, since the fake account’s name and description was “H.H. Mona bint Fahd al Said”, with the bio reading “Princess, Doctor, Assistant V.C. for International Cooperation at Sultan Qaboos University”.

The fake profile carried the same designation that the princess carries in real life, according to the Sultan Qaboos University website.

Also read: Twitter ‘mistakenly’ suspended account of Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka. This is what happened

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




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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