“Minor child rapists are also human, do they have no human rights. This Hindutva Government is bringing ordinance for death to child rapists just to hang muslims in larger numbers. Muslims aren’t safe in India anymore” – this quote has been ascribed to journalist Rana Ayyub.
A tweet with this quote was posted by an account @repubIicTv. The account later deleted the tweet and has now deleted the account itself.
Within a short while after this tweet was posted, this quote became viral on social media. On Facebook, the quote was shared thousands of times by users.
For instance, the page ‘Yogi Adityanath ki Sena’ (@YogiGKP) which has over 425,000 followers and is a popular page with the right wing posted this quote translated in Hindi on April 22. Since then, it has been shared more than 10,500 times.
On Twitter, Ayyub was slammed for her ‘views’, particularly by right-wing users.
अरे बेशर्म @RanaAyyub
60 साल तक बलात्कार पर कोइ कड़ा कानून नही बना लेकिन तब इन बामपंथी पत्रकारों के मुह से एक शब्द भी नही फूटा,आज जब मोदी सरकार ने बलात्कार के खिलाफ एक कठोर कानून बना दिया ह तो इनको ये बर्दाश्त नही हो रहा और तो और बोल रहे है इस कानून मुसलमान के खिलाफ ह #थू💦 pic.twitter.com/VmFObIRNdc
— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanthoff) April 23, 2018
The tweet was from the parody account of Republic TV, whose original Twitter handle is @Republic. Verified accounts are distinguished by a blue tick. This quote was picked up and widely circulated in an organised manner across various social media platforms. Ayyub herself in a Facebook post clarified that she had not made any such statement and that it was from a spoof account of the news channel.
While it is argued that such quotes are only for fun as they are posted from parody accounts and need not be taken seriously, the fact that a large majority of social media users consider them to be true and end up perpetuating them makes a compelling case for social media platforms like Twitter to devise mechanisms wherein there is clear visual indication so as to not confuse users and help them distinguish real accounts from fake ones.