3 more Indians in UAE face action for Islamophobic social media posts


Three more Indian expatriates in the United Arab Emirates have either been sacked or suspended from their jobs for Islamophobic social media posts days after the Indian ambassador cautioned citizens against posting inflammatory material online.

Chef Rawat Rohit, storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and a cash custodian whose identity was withheld by his employer are the latest additions to a list of about 10 Indians who have faced action for their social media posts, Gulf News reported on Saturday.

On April 20, Indian ambassador Pavan Kapoor had warned Indian expatriates against such behaviour after the issue of Islamophobic social media posts, especially content showing Islam in a poor light in conjunction with the Covid-19 pandemic, was highlighted my people in several West Asian countries.
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,’ Kapoor had tweeted, quoting another tweet from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that said Covid-19 doesn’t ‘see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking’.

A spokesperson for Azadea Group, which operates a chain of Italian restaurants in Dubai, said chef Rawat Rohit had been suspended and is facing a disciplinary probe, according to Gulf News.

Sharjah-based Pneumics Automation suspended its storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and withheld his salary. ‘The matter is under investigation. We have a zero tolerance policy. Anyone found guilty of insulting or showing contempt for someone’s religion will have to bear the consequences,’ the firm’s owner said.

Dubai-based Transguard Group said it sacked an employee who posted anti-Islamic messages on his Facebook page using the name Vishal Thakur. The employee was handed over to authorities and is in the custody of Dubai Police, a Transguard spokesperson said.

The issue of inflammatory posts by Indian expatriates has been in the limelight since it was raised on several occasions by Princess Hend al-Qassimi, a member of the UAE’s royal family.

Former Indian ambassador Navdeep Suri has also cautioned Indians about the UAE’s hate speech laws and similar warnings have been issued by Indian missions in other Gulf Cooperation Council states.

UAE’s anti-discrimination and anti-hate law prohibits all acts ‘that stoke religious hatred and/or which insult religion through any form of expression, be it speech or the written word, books, pamphlets or via online media’.

Last month, Sharjah-based businessman Sohan Roy had to apologise for a video depicting Islamic clerics leading blindfolded men in skull caps in an adaptation of his poem on religious bigotry, while three other Indians were fired for derogatory social media posts. A police complaint was filed against Sameer Bhandari, CEO of Future Vision Events & Weddings, after he told an Indian job-seeker to ‘Go back to Pakistan’ in a text message.

In March, chef Trilok Singh was fired from a restaurant in Dubai for an online threat against a student in Delhi over her views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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