Hundreds of Twitter accounts linked to Vikash Ahir, the state chairman of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, were behind the arrest of Indian journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, it has emerged.
Zubair, who has been accused of insulting Hindu religious beliefs on Twitter, was arrested by the Delhi police earlier this month for allegedly ‘hurting religious sentiments with his tweets, calling out discrimination against minorities during the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to a report published by The Wire today, an investigation has revealed a network of hundreds of accounts linked to Vikash, who is also the co-convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Gujarat, all of which tried to implicate Zubair by misconstruing the journalists’ old tweets as “Hinduphobic” and tagging local authorities in order to have him incarcerated for offending religious sentiment.
This network also consisted of eight replica accounts of “balajikijaiin”, the anonymous account whose complaint formed the basis of Zubair’s arrest. Currently, five of these eight replica accounts have been deleted, however, two other accounts – balajikijain and HanumanBhakt101 – remain active.
The report said: “Complementing this activity was a larger network of 18,364 accounts which were also used to trend other hashtags – #ArrestZubair, #ArrestMohamedZubair and #ArrestBlasphemerMdZubair – that targeted the journalist.”