27, Jan 2023 | Sanchita Kadam
Twitter has reinstated the account of repeat hate offender Deepak Sharma, whose profile was suspended in March last year. The one thing that has changed with Twitter is that the CEO of twitter then was Mr. Parag Agarwal and now Twitter is owned by the second richest man in the world, Elon Musk.
Sharma has a history of hate speech and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was one of the first to flag his profile to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on December 27, 2018. Deepak Sharma calls himself a “Nationalist !! Son Of Bharat Mata !! Political Thinker” and is a “founder” of an organisation named Rashtriya Swabhiman Dal (RSD). He announced heis return to Twitter with the following tweet:
स्वागत नहीं करोगे हमारा 😍😍
अकाउंट 9 महीनों बाद वापस आया है 😍😍 pic.twitter.com/NA6RjWym4r
— DeePak SharmA (@TheDeepak2020In) January 26, 2023
As soon as he was reinstated he resorted to the same diatribe for which his account was suspended in the first place. He has tweeted today that at Aligarh Muslim University, students raised slogans of ‘Allhu Akbar’ instead of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ on Republic Day, while calling the students “namaazi”
अलीगढ़ मुस्लिम विश्वविद्यालय
में गड़तंत्र दिवस पर नमाजी छात्रों
ने भारत माता की जय न बोलकर लगाए
अल्ला हु अकबर के नारे ✍️
बोलो इन्हे राष्ट्रद्रोही क्यों न कहें हम?
— DeePak SharmA (@TheDeepak2020In) January 27, 2023
When state assembly elections were announced, he tried to get popular, claiming to protect the interests of “Hindu dharma and the nation.” However, online, his job is to be a full time hate monger who joined Twitter only in February 2020 and quickly got a massive following. His profile has always been full of abusive and hateful posts and is constantly seen openly supporting and being supported by BJP politicians, including Telangana’s T Raja. His other notoriety includes, trying to offer Hindu prayers at Taj Mahal, verbally abusing Muslims in his video rants, and trying his hand at poetry seeking “another Godhra”.
CJP had also complained to National Commission for Minorities (NCM) against Sharma after he made derogatory statements against ‘Allah’ in an audio chat room on a social audio app called ‘Clubhouse’. In this audio chat room he made a series of extremely crude and derogatory comments about the anatomy and biology of Allah
A profile on his hateful propaganda may be watched here
Musk has maintained a stand of being a “free speech absolutist” and has said that Twitter should be more cautious about removing tweets or banning users. Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety said that twitter “will not reinstate users who engaged in threats of harm or violence, fraud or other illegal activity and we will suspend accounts for this type of activity immediately”. However, looking at the users whose accounts it has reinstated, twitter does not seem to have stood up to this stance, or has decided to completely turn a blind eye under the guise of advocating for free speech.
Other accounts that have been reinstated include that of Hindi film actor Kangana Ranaut known for making controversial comments about religion as also of a website perpetrating hate, called ‘Kreately’. This account was suspended in November last year after CJP’s complaint. Kreately media was incessantly posting hate mongering, anti-Islamic content through their account. A detailed report on Kreately’s earlier posts may be read here. @Kreately continues to post provocative and inciteful content. It recently posted about the 1990 exodus of Hindus from Kashmir and posted disturbing imagery and posted content showing Kashmiri Muslims in a bad light. Moreover, on its website Kreately allows anybody to post anything, without any editorial gatekeeping
Other accounts that have been reinstated include:
@theskindoctor13 tweets offensive and at times misleading content. He has written about the Shraddha Walkar murder where the accused belonged to Muslim community and states exaggeratedly that such incidents happen every day in India. He also shared an old video of armed forces allegedly beating up Chinese armed forces and claimed it was a recent one. He also shares videos claiming incidents of “love jihad”. (a pejorative term for inter-community associations and partnerships that are affected by autonomy and choice)
@bharadwajspeaks made disparaging comments about Islam. He has said that Auliya (a Sufi Saint) took part in Jihad and sold Hindu women as slaves. He has even posted a long thread claiming Savitribai Phule (a social reformist and pioneer in women’s education in India) was a British missionary.
Twitter’s decision to restore suspended accounts deeming permanent suspension as a disproportionate action is only adding fuel to the fire. Hate sells and Twitter will only be facilitating it by restoring such accounts.
There is a clear lack of logic behind reinstating such accounts that spread misinformation and hatred. It is not as if these accounts will return to the platform completely reformed. This is no way a deterrent to them.