Dubai: A Dubai-based Indian chef fired for allegedly sending a woman online rape threats claims his social media account was hacked.
“I didn’t do it,” Trilok Singh told Gulf News on Tuesday. “Probably my account was hacked. I don’t know how it happened. I would never make such derogatory comments against any one, much less a woman,” added the father of two.
The 38-year-old was fired from his job at Grand Barbeque Indian restaurant in Deira on Sunday shortly after he allegedly threatened to rape Swati Khanna, a final-year law student in Delhi, known for her outspoken views against India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
Singh, whose employment visa is under cancellation, said he will visit Swati in India and ‘clear the air’.
“It looks like someone hacked my Facebook account and sent the offending message,” he claimed.
In a phone call with Gulf News on Tuesday, Swati said, “Trilok Singh’s message reflects a misogynistic mind. He is one of those many men who think they can say anything to a woman just because her views differ from theirs. As women we should not be threatened by rape or death threats. Instead, we should be strong enough to report them and that’s precisely what I did. I am thankful to Gulf News for taking cognisance of the matter.”
Swati also shared a video message on the issue.
No stranger to threats back home, Swati said she was horrified by the explicit content of the message which she received via Facebook messenger while she was travelling to the state of Bihar in East India recently.
In his profanity-laced Facebook message Singh allegedly called Swati a prostitute and threatened to rape her and mutilate her genitals.
“I was shocked that someone could harbour such thoughts and have the audacity to put them in a message,” she said.
“I urge Mr Trilok Singh not to use such language against any woman or any human for that matter in future. Please be civilized. Even if we disagree with anyone we should counter them with good arguments not abuses,” she added.
Swati said she routinely gets threats but remains unrattled by them. “As a law student I reckon it’s my moral duty to report these threats to the police. That said, I live in constant dread and fear being attacked by some lunatic,” she said.
H Gani, a co-owner of Grand Barbecue Indian restaurant said they have sent Singh’s visa for cancellation. “His argument that his Facebook account had been hacked didn’t cut much ice with us,” he said.
Meanwhile the American University of Dubai (AUD) has issued a statement on twitter denying any association with Singh.
Scores of people had tagged AUD demanding action against Singh whose Facebook profile wrongly claimed he worked for the varsity.
“AUD denies all links & involvement with an individual currently using our logo & name to spread hateful and defamatory remarks. All thoughts & ideas expressed do not represent our community. We are currently working with the relevant authorities to put an end to this situation,” AUD said in a twitter post on Tuesday.
“The AUD community strongly condemns all incidents and expressions of cyber bullying and hate. We pride ourselves on being an incredibly international and diverse community that thrives on inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance,” AUD said in another post.
Ishaan Tharoor, a foreign affairs writer at Washington Post, Ashok Swain, professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden are among thousands who shared the Gulf News story, with many demanding Singh’s immediate arrest.
“If you ask me, sacking him not enough. He should have been handed over to @dubaipoIice,” tweeted Vikram Saxena.
@IndianPrism said, “An example that online ‘activism’ works. That we can find, shame and report bigots walking in our society. That misogynists who think they can hide in the sea of trolls after making rape threats to random women can be brought to justice.”