BJP chief files complaint against Mohammed Zubair, alleges attempt to ‘fuel hatred’ after India-Pakistan game

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa has filed a lawsuit against AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair for ‘spreading hate propaganda’ against cricketer Arshdeep Singh amid an ongoing row over a purported Wikipedia page on the cricketer which referred to him as “Khalistani”. Arshdeep was subjected to relentless trolling after losing a hold in India’s Asian Cup clash with rivals Pakistan on Sunday night.

A major row erupted after the Wikipedia page was allegedly edited, albeit briefly, to suggest that Arshdeep had been selected to play for the ‘Khalistan national cricket team’.

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In her complaint to the Delhi Police, Sirsa alleged that Zubair deliberately “attempted to spread hate propaganda against Arshdeep Singh and the entire Sikh community”. According to Sirsa’s complaint, Zubair took multiple screenshots of various Twitter handles after searching for the word “Khalistani” and posted a collage of those tweets on September 5 in his attempt to show that “these abusive and malicious tweets” were posted by Indian Twitter handles.

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“The reality is that most of these Twitter accounts are Pakistani accounts and some were created just for the purpose of this tweet, whose sole intention was to spread hatred against a nationalist and national level player who gave his heart and his soul playing for the country and also against the entire Sikh community,” Sirsa wrote in her complaint to the Delhi Police Commissioner.

In his complaint dated September 5, the BJP leader further called for an investigation into the “plot” hatched by Zubair “in collusion with anti-national elements of Pakistan to stir up trouble in the country and sow hatred against entire Sikh community.

The development came on a day when the Union’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology sent a notice to Wikipedia regarding the vandalism of the cricketer’s page, a development which the Wikimedia Foundation confirmed, according to the media.

On Monday, Minister of State, MEITy, Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to Twitter to denounce the vandalism of Arshdeep’s Wikipedia page and said no middleman operating in India could be allowed to allow such misinformation about his platform.

“No middleman operating in India can allow this type of misinformation and deliberate efforts to incite n #userharm – violates our government’s expectations of a safe and reliable internet,” Chandrasekhar tweeted.

The IT Ministry said it took the development seriously and suggested the likelihood of Pakistani involvement in the matter. The ministry also said the development could have had implications for “national security and harmony”.

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