The list of Indian nationals facing action over vile Islamophobic posts on social media in the UAE is getting longer as three more were charged on Saturday.
It seems that the warnings of the Indian mission have fallen on deaf ears.
Over the weekend, at least three more have been fired or suspended after their offensive posts were brought to the attention of employers by social media users.
The men now join nearly half a dozen hate-mongers who have similarly landed in trouble in recent weeks.
The latest addition to the growing list include Italian chef Rawat Rohit, storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and a cash custodian whose name has been withheld by his firm.
A spokesperson for Azadea Group that operates Eataly, a chain of high-end Italian restaurants in Dubai, confirmed that Rawat Rohit who was employed with them as a chef has been suspended and is facing a disciplinary probe.
#Islamophobia_In_India anti-Muslim hate and bigotry in India and Islamophobic social media posts by Indian expats have attracted the wrath of rulers and activists in Middle East who have called for an immediate end to the state sponsored hate that is being peddled against Muslims pic.twitter.com/TqVFyGCb1T— @Shaik_Hohith (@waheedshaik773) April 21, 2020
Sharjah-based Pneumics Automation have also said they suspended their storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli until further notice.
“We have withheld his salary and told him not to come to work. 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,” said the firm’s owner.
WATCH: UAE princess schools Indian expat over Islamophobic tweets
Similarly, Dubai-based Transguard Group said they have cracked down on an employee who had posted several anti-Islamic messages on his Facebook page under the name of Vishal Thakur.
“Following an internal investigation, the actual identify of this employee was verified and he was stripped of his security credentials, terminated from our employment and handed over to the relevant authorities as per company policy and UAE Cybercrime Law Number five of 2012.
Following an internal investigation, the employee responsible for posting these inflammatory comments under a false name has been identified, terminated and handed over to the authorities as per the strict zero-tolerance social media policy of Transguard Group.— Transguard Group (@TransguardHQ) May 2, 2020
As of this statement, he is in the custody of Dubai Police,” a Transguard spokesperson said in a statement.
Transguard said their long-standing social media policy complies UAE’s stringent cybercrime regulations.
“It is enforced through regular monitoring, evaluation and, if necessary, disciplinary action, including fines, termination and deportation, as per federal law,” the spokesperson said.
Anyone that is openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave. An example; pic.twitter.com/nJW7XS5xGx— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) April 15, 2020
The spokesperson also clarified that an individual reportedly posting hateful comments under the name of Prakash Kumar doesn’t work with them. “Twitter user Prakash Kumar” has falsely claimed that he works for Transguard. As mentioned multiple times, we have handed the matter to the authorities and since this individual is not a Transguard employee we have no further comment on the matter,” the spokesperson added.
Warnings fall on deaf ears
The new sackings and suspensions come days after both the former and current Indian Ambassadors to the UAE cautioned their countrymen about the UAE’s strict hate speech laws. Similar warnings were issued by missions in other GCC countries.
Of late, there has been an alarming increase in the number of highly offensive, Islamophobic posts by some Indians living in Gulf countries. Several of these people have lost their jobs while others have swiftly taken down their posts or deactivated their accounts after being called out by other social media users.
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. https://t.co/8Ui6L9EKpc— Amb Pavan Kapoor (@AmbKapoor) April 20, 2020
Many have tagged the employers of such people in their complaints, who in turn have taken swift punitive action.
The issue also gained prominence after some GCC citizens on Twitter entered the debate, and raised their voice against the spread of bigotry online.
ممكن لإخوتي وأخواتي من الإمارات توجيهي للجهة المسؤولة عن مِن يأكل من خيرات الإمارات ثم يرميها بالسهام المسمومه مثل هذا الشخص الذي يقول في صفحته بأن الهندوس هم من بنوا دبي. أيأتي أحد فاراً من بلده الا للقمة العيش؟ و لك هذا الأسلوب الوقح الذي لم نعهده من الهنود بعد الطيبة واللين؟ pic.twitter.com/YmVczygRJW— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) April 15, 2020
Much of the vitriol can be traced to an atmosphere of blind hate against Muslims who have been blamed for the spread of Covid-19 in India.
The UAE outlaws all religious or racial discrimination under a legislation passed in 2015.
The anti-discrimination/anti-hatred 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.”
The ruling family is friends with Indians, but as a royal your rudeness is not welcome. All employees are paid to work, no one comes for free. You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) April 15, 2020
The legislation mainly aims to fight “discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin.”