Three More Indians in UAE Face Probe for Communal Social Media Posts

The UAE has taken interest in Indian residents' social media activities after backlash from Arab intellectuals over reports of anti-Islamic posts by Indians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Delhi: Three more Indians have been fired or suspended by their employers in United Arab Emirates over Islamophobic posts, Gulf News reported on Saturday.

The UAE has taken interest in Indian residents’ social media activities after backlash from Arab intellectuals over reports of anti-Islamic posts by Indians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outrage in Arab social media had led even the Indian ambassador to UAE, Pawan Kapoor to remind Indian community in the gulf that both the countries share the “value of non-discrimination on any ground”. In 2015, UAE had passed a non-discrimination law which criminalised any hate speech on any media that aimed at stoking religious hatred or insulting any religion.

Despite the warning, Gulf News reported that local companies took action again a chef, storekeeper and a cash clerk for their posts on social media which reportedly criticised Islam.

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The UAE franchisee of Eataly, a restaurant chain in Dubai told Gulf News that a chef, Rohit Rawat had been suspended and faced a disciplinary probe for his posts.

Another firm, Pneumics Automation, also stated that a storekeeper, Sachin Kinnigoli, has been told not to return to work, while his conduct is being probed.

“We have withheld his salary and told him not to come to work. The matter is under investigation. We have a zero tolerance policy. Anyone found guilty of insulting or showing contempt for someone’s religion will have to bear the consequences,” the owner told the paper.

The third case was of an employee at a manpower supplier company, Transguard group, who had posted an offensive post on Ramzan on his Facebook account under a false name of “Vishal Thakur”.

In replies to tweets, the group said, “Following an internal investigation, the employee responsible for posting these inflammatory comments under a false name has been identified, terminated and handed over to the authorities as per the strict zero-tolerance social media policy of Transguard Group”.

Gulf News added that a Transguard spokesperson added that Thakur had been handed over to Dubai police custody as per UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012

He also said that the company’s social media policy complies with UAE’s cyber crime regulations. ““It is enforced through regular monitoring, evaluation and, if necessary, disciplinary action, including fines, termination and deportation, as per federal law,” the spokesperson said.

The firm also said that other tweets claiming that another employee in Transguard was also posting offensive posts wasn’t correct. “Twitter user Prakash Kumar” has falsely claimed that he works for Transguard. As mentioned multiple times, we have handed the matter to the authorities and since this individual is not a Transguard employee we have no further comment on the matter,” the spokesperson told Gulf News.

As per a list drawn by the paper, offensive social media post and discriminatory messages by at least seven Indians in the last four months have come under the spotlight, which led to several of them losing their jobs or facing police complaints.