An Indian man was sacked from his job in a multinational company after tweets propagating hate and violence against Kashmiri Muslims, including rape of women, created a storm on social media.
Ashish Kaul, an employee of the US-based Development Dimensions International (DDI), tweeted on Saturday saying: “We are killing, maiming and raping you [Kashmiri women] at will. Ha haa cry aloud Aazadi [freedom].”
“I love when Kashmiri Muslim women cry on roads,” he wrote referring to the women mourning their family and children who have died in confrontations with security forces in the conflict-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Kaul, a Hindu, had previously tweeted: “Kill the bastards [Kashmiri Muslims] economically and let them sell their daughters, wives in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to feed themselves!” He also tagged a senior Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the abusive tweet.
His tweets angered a large number of Twitter users, many of whom tagged his company DDI on the social media forum, and asked if they approved of Kaul’s comments.
DDI was quick to respond. On Sunday the company tweeted: “We are investigating the full scope of the situation right now. We recognize the seriousness of these posts and do not condone violence under any circumstance.”
On Monday they published an official statement saying that Kaul has resigned and that the company advocates “equality and diversity, and deeply believe in the value of peaceful resolution of conflict.”
“As soon as we learned about the social media posts, we immediately suspended the employee and launched an investigation to determine the full scope of the issue. As of May 12, we have accepted the individual’s resignation. This individual’s opinions were his alone, and do not reflect the values of DDI,” the company said.
The J&K police have also registered a case against Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit (upper-caste Hindus in Kashmir), under section 505(1) of the Ranbir Penal Code (applicable only in J&K) and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
Section 505 of the Ranbir Penal Code assigns a minimum of three years in jail for a person found guilty of making a statement “with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offense against any other class or community.”
Ashish Kaul’s profile has been deleted from Twitter either by the man himself or social media forum. The Twitteratti didn’t stop at just tagging Kaul’s employer, they even tagged Linkedin, the online professional network, and questioned what their policy was in regard to hosting such a person’s profile. On Monday, Asia Times tried to access Kaul’s Linkedin profile, but it appeared to have been deleted as well.
Bank employee welcomed rape of Muslim girl
This was not an isolated event where hate-speech was flagged by social media users and the concerned person’s actions were brought under the ambit of the law.
Last month, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, a private Indian bank, fired one of its employees in Kerala citing “poor performance” following outrage over his remarks on the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl. The Muslim girl was allegedly targeted by Hindus who wanted the victim’s nomadic group to abandon a block of land they coveted, but the case was also politically colored.
The bank employee, Vishnu Nandakumar, wrote on Facebook: “It is good that she [the victim] was killed now. Otherwise, she would have come as a bomb against India.” He is the son of EN Nandakumar, a senior leader of the RSS Hindu group.
Kotak Mahindra said in this regard, “It is extremely disheartening to see such comments being made in the aftermath of such tragedy by anyone, including an ex-employee. We strongly condemn this statement.”