Hyderabad police in a Twitter row over response to tweet on ‘jihadis’

Screenshot of the conversation that kicked off a controversy

Screenshot of the conversation that kicked off a controversy  


Many ‘wannabe jihadis’ working for software firms in Hyderabad, claims Twitter user

The Cyberabad Police found themselves embroiled in a controversy after their Twitter handle responded to a tweet of a Twitter user who claimed that there were several ‘wannabe jihadis’ working for software companies in the city. He sought to know whether police have done background checks of such employees.

In a series of tweets, the Twitter user, one Suresh Kochattil used the word ‘peacefuls’, widely considered a pejorative, to describe Muslims, as he sought to know that given with the US-Iran standoff, whether the police have done ‘risk assessment’ of ‘wannabe jihadis’ working in American software companies.

“Many wannabe Jihadis work for American software companies in Hyderabad? After #Iran threatened to hit US assets, has @hydcitypolice @cyberabadpolice @RachakondaCop done background check/risk assessment of these Peacefuls? Or cops are clueless? @KTRTRS @TelanganaDGP @USCGHyderabad,” he tweeted.

The Cyberabad Police Twitter handle replied in the affirmative, thanked him for alerting them and said that there are ‘specialised wings’ which work on gathering intelligence. Both tweets were widely shared.

In another tweet, the Twitter user said that ‘each peaceful is a suspect’.

Hours later, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi criticised Cyberabad Police’s tweet and demanded a clarification. In another tweet, he took a swipe at Cyberabad Commissioner of Police V C Sajjanar, as he invoked the encounter post the Disha case, and said that terrorism has no religion.

“@cpcybd sir you say “yes sir” please enlighten me how many such “jihadis” are working in software companies; kindly give the number if not please clarify what you meant. Will you reply to an MP or only a bhakt?” Mr Owaisi tweeted.

Apart from Mr Owaisi several netizens from Hyderabad and other parts of the country tweeted their shock and disapproval of the Cyberabad Police’s tweet.

For their part, the Cyberabad Police issued a clarification, claiming that its tweet was misconstrued.

“Our tweet has been misconstrued. The intent is only to suggest that we are always alert and well equipped to ensure security and it does not mean to agree with the suggestion. We reiterate that we are committed to maintain peace and order in society without prejudice towards any person and community,” reads a tweet.

Another top official said that ‘appropriate measures’ would be taken.

Meanwhile, the Students Islamic Organisation on Wednesday accused Cyberabad Police’s Twitter response as ‘islamophobic’.

SIO state president Talha Fayyazuddin urged police not to encourage those who are ‘tools of hate’. Describing the response as ‘illogical’, he said, “the entire struggle against CAA-NPR-NRC is to prevent damage to the social fabric of India, and what destroys it is the sowing of hatred and creating divide by raising suspicions in the minds of people against their own people.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:01:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/row-over-police-response-to-tweet-on-jihadis/article30515882.ece

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