Dear friends, this is regarding the ongoing controversy about my tweet on the so-called Modi assassination plot. My tweet was a sarcastic reference to the baseless media campaign being run by Mr. Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now at prime time in which photos of JNU student, Mr. Umar Khalid and his father, Mr. S Q R Ilyas were being flashed alongside news of the purported Modi assassination plot.

The tweet in question has to be read along with the preceding tweet where I quote-tweeted the aforementioned Times Now story and called it “bullshit.” Immediately after that, I wrote this sarcastic tweet alluding to the baseless Times Now story. Don’t know why Mr. Gadkari is reacting to a sarcastic reference!

Mr. Khalid is a vulnerable student and such kind of baseless and targeted reportage can put him in harm’s way. The tweet is obviously sarcastic and it is intended to make the point that reputations of Muslims, esp Muslim men, are tarnished through some mainstream media outlets on a daily basis, without any accountability. Even during the JNU sedition controversy, Mr. Khalid was called a Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist by NewsX (Rahul Shivshankar’s former organisation).

Through my tweet, I wanted to make the point that Muslims are not fair game. If Mr. Gadkari’s name is random, so is Mr. Khalid’s. But in the later instance, we don’t question the narrative because it’s a Muslim name.

Even last time around, several media outlets ran fake news that suggested that missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed had ISIS links. But we did not have the resources to sue the channels for defamation.

Channels which drag the names of Muslims unnecessarily into mud are doing a great damage to the social fabric of the country and contributing to the already existing anti-Muslim paranoia. Our society needs healing. A lot of healing, especially in the ongoing environment where mob lynching of Muslims is rife. Channels like Times Now, Republic, etc. are inciting more violence against Muslims.

The so-called Modi assassination plot is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from the failures of the Modi government. Recently, when Mr. Modi completed 4 years in office, several independent reports prepared by citizens [such as modireportcard dot com] showed how Modi govt has failed on almost all parameters. The assassination ploy is just a means to divert attention and gain sympathy ahead of 2019 elections.

Shehla Rashid Shora
Former Vice-President,
JNU Students’ Union