Indian Envoy condemns hate-speech by Indians in the UAE


India’s envoy in UAE reminds diaspora of rule of law amidst outrage over ‘Islamophobic’ slurs

Cautioning Indians in the United Arab Emirates against a spate of religiously derogatory posts, India’s Ambassador to the UAE said any discrimination would not be tolerated.

“India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this,” Ambassador Pavan Kapoor said in a tweet on Monday, indicating how strongly the government has taken many such cases that have come into prominence recently. The tweet also referred to PM Modi’s earlier statement that said the Coronavirus “does not see race or religion”.

In the past month, at least six Indians have lost jobs or face charges over social media posts linking the coronavirus pandemic to the Muslim community in India.

The issue, according to at least two sources aware of the discussions, is creating a greater diplomatic strain for New Delhi, even as it negotiates with UAE officials who have been pushing for India to repatriate thousands of citizens who have lost jobs with companies in the Emirates due to COVID-19.

An estimated 3.3 million Indians live and work in the UAE.

On April 18, Sharjah businessman and filmmaker Sohan Roy was forced to apologise publicly after a complaint against him for a video which depicted Islamic clerics leading blindfolded men in skull caps in an adaptation of his poem on religious bigotry. Earlier in April, Dubai resident Rakesh B. Kitturmath, who worked at a services company, an accountant Bala Krishna Nakka, and Abu Dhabi resident Mitesh Udeshi were terminated for similarly derogatory posts on social media that contravened UAE law.

In March, a Dubai-based Chef Trilok Singh was sacked for an online rape threat against a student for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act. A complaint was also filed against the CEO of an events management company Sameer Bhandari, who, in a written response to an Indian Muslim job applicant, told him to “Go to Pakistan”.

Former Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Suri says the Emirates has cracked down on hate speech against all religions, especially after it enacted the 2015 Anti-Discrimination Law, punishing “any form of discrimination against people and religion”. “The UAE has been working actively to promote an image of tolerance and have targeted religious extremism,” he said.

Courtesy The Hindu

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