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State facts, not rhetorics: Group of Intellectuals and Academics on Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘leaked’ tape on Delhi riots

As per reports, a 'leaked' audio conversation between Zuckerberg and his employees that BJP leader Kapil Mishra's speech on anti-CAA rioters was an example of inciting violence.

Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) have written an open letter to Facebook chief and and urged him to stick to facts and refrain from making statements based on rhetorics. The letter comes days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg allegedly used the anti-Hindu riots in NE Delhi as a yardstick to apprise his 25000 employees how to deal with hate speeches and offensive content on the social media platform.

As per reports, a ‘leaked’ audio conversation between Zuckerberg and his employees that BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech on anti-CAA rioters was an example of inciting violence. BJP leader Kapil Mishra took to his official Twitter handle to share the open letter by the GIA.

The GIA informed the Facebook CEO that it had sent a fact-finding team to areas in Delhi that were hit by violence earlier this year. It said that tensions in Delhi were mounting ever since the Indian government brought in the Citizenship Amendment Act in December last year. According to the ground reports the anti-CAA protesters had been running riots on the streets of Delhi since mid-December 2019. The GIA informed Mark that the riots which he had made reference to in his speech were mostly area specific. The area affected “by the ‘encouragement’ that you mentioned has happened on February 23, 2020, is called Jaffrabad”, read the letter.

Delhi anti-Hindu riots were area-specific and pre-planned conspiracy

Violence during this period was confined to Saleempur and Jaffrabad. The letter highlights that in all episodes 7 incidences of violence during the period which Mark mentioned in his speech, Delhi police was subjected to intense stone-pelting and public property were destroyed.

The group said that a total of 13 cases of rioting were registered against people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Delhi. In at least seven incidents of violence, Delhi Police was subjected to intense stone-pelting while the public property was destroyed, added the group.

The intellectuals and academicians then stressed that Delhi Police had tried to bring the situation in control by regularly appealing to local leaders of the affected areas to help maintain peace and harmony, especially on Friday, which is an obligatory day of worship for the Muslims.

The Delhi police, in preparation for the upcoming Friday on December 20, 2020, had held several meetings with local leaders of all masjids in the area and appealed to maintain law and order and peace. Despite that, after the Friday Namaz, almost 40,000 people descended on the streets, sloganeering against the Citizenship Amendment Act and makings call for Azadi. The crowd remained agitated till 2 in the morning, read the letter.

The GIA then went on to claim that the incident which Zuckerberg referred in his speech was from February 23 when a group of anti-CAA protesters blocked the road, began pelting stones and violence intensified later in the night.

The letter thus concluded that the incident Mark’s speech mentioned during his interaction with his 25000 employees was a pre-planned conspiracy and was mostly area specific. Moreover, it was an immensely provocative act by the anti-CAA protestors who blocked an arterial road inconveniencing almost 25 lakh commuters in the intervening night between February 22 and 23, 2020. A violent crowd of stone-pelters had already gathered on the road by the afternoon of February 23. By night the violence intensified, claimed GIA in it’s letter.

“Mr Zuckerberg, we appreciate that you are a responsible person and your statement must be made with the conviction of facts and data rather than rhetoric. We have presented you with the facts. Please take note,” read the letter.

Delhi riots a planned conspiracy by left-jihadi network

GIA is the same group which had on March 11, 2020, submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the anti-Hindu riots in the national capital. As per reports, the 51-pages long report titled ‘The Shaheen Bagh Model in Northeast Delhi: From Dharna to Danga’, the riots were a preplanned conspiracy.

The report had suggested that the Delhi riots were a planned conspiracy which took place because of radicalisation of Muslims over time. The report further states how the riots spread in Bhajanpura, Shiv Vihar, Gokulpuri, Brijpuri, Brahmapuri and surrounding areas where men and women attacked the Delhi Police. Important public places like petrol pumps and high value properties belonging to Hindus were also damaged. The report mentions that the over time the weapons were stockpiled and high-rise buildings were used as launchpad for petrol bombs.

The report further stated that the links from across the border and ISIS type brutality in murders point towards planned conspiracy in the riots. 

Group of Intellectuals and Academicians

The Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) was formed in 2015 and includes Advocate Monika Arora, Delhi University Assistant Professors Prerna Malhotra (Ram Lal Anand College), Sonali Chitalkar (Miranda House), Shruti Mishra (PG DAV College –Evening) and Divyansha Sharma (Institute of Home Economics) as its members.

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