Campaign Against Hate Speech unequivocally condemns the hateful
targetting of Frontline journalist Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed on Twitter.

Twitter account @IndianBhakt007 created an image which contains
Vikhar’s photo and screenshots of communally inflammatory tweets (posted
by an account that does not belong to Vikhar) and has attributed the same
to Vikhar. This image has gone viral on Twitter and has been posted by
@rahulroushan, @pawan_goon, @Aish17aer, @Vedic_Revival among others.
These tweets have been retweeted more than 8000 times. Discussions on
Twitter are expectedly spewing hate against Vikhar, even calling for violence
against him. Even as all this is panning out, the account which made these
inflammatory statements, called @sayeedahmedindi, has not issued any
clarification stating this account does not belong to Vikhar. These
developments are clear indications of the systematic targeting of a journalist
because of his religious identity.

Vikhar is a respected, award-winning journalist working with an equally
reputed publication called Frontline. He is the author of several articles on
Karnataka’s history and his carefully-researched writings emphasise
Karnataka’s syncretic history and the everyday struggles of the socially
marginalised.

We stand in complete solidarity with Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed and are
deeply angered by this artificially created environment of hate and criminal
intimidation against individuals on the basis of their religion. We are certain that these criminal actions targeted against the journalist is a result of hate speech spread by irresponsible media and venomous politicians. If well-placed individuals from minority communities with access and ability to take action can be subject to such hate, then poor and working-class Muslims with little means to stand up to hate will be—infact, have already been—hit badly by this toxicity enveloping us.

We demand that strict action be taken against the accounts concerned
for creating a threatening environment for a journalist simply because of his
religious identity. The actions of @IndianBhakt007, @rahulroushan,
@pawan_goon, @Vedic_Revival, @sayeedahmedindi among others in
violating his privacy is an offence punishable under Section 66E of the
Information Technology Act, 2000. It is also an offence punishable under
Section 419, 153-A and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code. We demand that
immediate action be taken against the above account holders
including initiation of criminal action through the registration of FIRs and the suspension of these accounts.

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