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'Communalising Corona' : Plea In SC Seeks Direction To Remove Communal Hashtags Like #CoronaJihad,#TablighiJamatVirus Etc. From Social Media

Mehal Jain
14 April 2020 7:12 AM GMT
Communalising Corona : Plea In SC Seeks Direction To Remove Communal Hashtags Like #CoronaJihad,#TablighiJamatVirus Etc. From Social Media
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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against 'hashtags' trending on Twitter communalising the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin, which demonise and blame the entire Muslim community of deliberately spreading the corona virus across the country

Petitioner-advocate Khaja Aijazuddin has averred that these trends, styled as #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #Nizamuddinidiots, #TablighiJamatVirus, etc, are "attaching the religion to the pandemic disease which is contrary to the Guidelines or advisory Dated 18.03.2020 issued by the World Health Organization". Besides, "it is contrary to the laws prevailing in the territorial Jurisdiction of India, calling for invocation of Penal Laws for manifestly insulting the religion, hurting the feelings of the community and disturbing the communal harmony of the Country".

The Petitioner, an advocate practicing at the Telangana High Court, submits that a Religious Congregation was conducted from 13th March 2020 to 15th March 2020 at Delhi, organised by the Tablighi Jamat at Nizamuddin, Delhi where Scholars and attendees had arrived from across the World and from different states of India and the Organisers had housed them by providing necessary day to day facilities.

He continues that after the conclusion of the meeting somewhere around March 20, there a was massive spread of Coronavirus causing the Government of India to declare March 22 as "Janata Curfew", which means that the entire Country on that particular date was closed fully. Thereafter, lockdown was announced from March 24 to April14.

It is narrated that "after the attendees dispersed to their respective States, and during or after arriving at their respective places, there were some instances of detection of Coronavirus symptoms. The participants who had come from abroad and were staying at Nizamuddin, Delhi tested positive and the 'State' took them for Quarantine as per the norms". "Due to massive publicity given by the media that many of the positive cases of Coronavirus were found from Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin, Delhi, there was massive trending on Twitter attaching the religion to the disease of coronavirus", the petitions reads.

"The attaching of the particular community to Coronavirus is totally contrary to the Guidelines issued by the WHO on 18.03.2020" laying down that "religion shall not be attached with the pandemic", the petitioner iterates. He has urged that, "to uphold the Rule of Law", action be taken against these social media trends "by blocking the unwarranted tweets or usages which is affecting the particular community".

The petitioner has prayed for a direction to the Centre and to the Telangana police to require the social media platform Twitter to "stop the illegal trending attaching the religion to the pandemic disease", for it is "highly unwarranted,, illegal and unconstitutional". Further, it is sought that "online social media networks or sites be restrained from carrying any messages hurting or insulting the feelings of the particular community"

A plea seeking action against certain sections of the media for communalising the meeting at Nizamuddin has already been filed before the apex court by another organisation of Islamic scholars- Jamait Ulama-i-hind and Supreme Court has directed to implede Press Council Of India in the matter.

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