The Indian government on Monday ordered an injury into the online hate campaign against Indian fast bowler Arshdeep Singh a day after the Men-in-Blue lost a match to their arch-rival Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup.
Arshdeep, who was stationed at short third man, dropped a catch of Pakistani batsman Asif Ali who later played match-winning innings of 16 runs off 8 balls.
He bowled a terrific last over and dismissed Asif Ali in LBW (leg before wicket) but Pakistan won the match after Iftikhar scored 2 runs of Arshdeep’s 5th delivery to seal the match.
The match had barely ended when self-proclaimed fact-checker Mohammad Zubair shared screenshots of handles abusing Arshdeep for India’s defeat.
Soon after, the Indian cricketer started trending on Twitter. Bot handles based in Pakistan and the United States started posting messages on the social media platform, calling Arshdeep a “Khalistani”, as supporters of fringe elements demanding a separate country for Sikhs are known.
Even his Wikipedia page was edited to link him to the successionist elements based abroad. The person who edited the page has been founded to be a Pakistani.
As per a top government official, around 20 per cent of the Twitter handles involved in the vituperative attack against Arshdeep have been found to be operational in India. “Agencies are getting their IP addresses and nobody will be spared”, the official added.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the Ministry of Information and Technology summoned executives of Wikipedia India to explain for failing to check such hate messages. The ministry has also asked the encyclopedia company to identify the persons who edited the Wikipedia page dedicated to Arshdeep.
No intermerdiary operatng in India can permit this type of misinformation n deliberate efforts to incitement n #userharm – violates our govts expectation of Safe & Trusted Internet #wikipedia @GoI_MeitY #SafeTrustedInternet pic.twitter.com/Qm6HdppM1k
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) September 5, 2022
An investigation has been launched to identify the handles and source of their origin to fix the responsibility, sources in the Central government told The New Indian.
A preliminary investigation carried out by security agencies has revealed the hate campaign against the young Indian fast bowler was a calibrated attack by Khalistani agents residing in the US and ISI officials in Pakistan.
The campaign of calumny was amplified on social media to paint the “great divide” among Indians and how a Sikh player was targeted for losing the match against Pakistan, as per the people in the know of the developments.
It may be recalled that Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami was targeted the same way when India lost to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup last year.
“The modus operandi is the same. Handles active in Pakistan, Gulf countries and the US were used to paint Indians as anti-Muslim then. Now they are trying to paint the same picture against Sikhs – that minorities are not safe in India”, said the official cited above.