Dubai: Indian embassies in Gulf countries, which have close socio-economic and political ties to India, are increasingly cautioning Indians living in GCC states against posting hate-filled and extremist messages on social media platforms.
The latest missive came from the Indian mission in Oman. “The friendly relations between India and Oman are underpinned by our shared values of tolerance and pluralism. Let us all commit to maintaining unity and social harmony at this critical juncture.”
Of late, there has been a marked increase in the number of highly offensive, Islamophobic posts by some Indians living in the UAE and other Gulf countries, chiefly on Twitter and Facebook. As a result of these posts, and due to the fact that the hate-mongers were called out by other social media users and publications such as Gulf News, a handful of these people have lost their jobs while others have swiftly taken down their posts or have closed their accounts altogether. Many social media users have tagged the employers of such people in their complaints, who in turn have taken swift punitive action.
The issue also gained prominence after some GCC citizens on Twitter entered the debate, and raised their voice against the spread of bigotry online.
In a tweet yesterday, the Indian embassy in Qatar also took cognizance of the issue, but adopted a slightly different stance, implying that anti-India forces were trying to divide people. “It is clear that fake identities are being used by forces inimical to India, to create divisions within our community. Please understand the reality and do not get swayed by these malicious attempts to sow discord. Our focus right now needs to be on COVID-19.”
Much of the vitriol can be traced back to an atmosphere of blind hate against Muslims that large sections of the Indian media, particularly TV news channels, have tried to create back home. Currently, that campaign has resorted to blaming Muslims in India for the spread of COVID-19.
In a tweet on Monday, Indian ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, said: “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on many grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.”
The sudden surge of such messages from Indian missions in Gulf countries has come after a call by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasising the need to “attach primacy to unity and brotherhood”.