Three more Indians in UAE face action over Islamophobic posts

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. 

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Three more Indians based in the United Arab Emirates have joined a list of expatriates who have either been fired or suspended from their jobs over their Islamophobic posts on social media, a media report said.

Chef Rawat Rohit, storekeeper Sachin Kinnigoli and a cash custodian whose name has been withheld by his firm, faced action, said the Gulf News report on Saturday. 

On April 22, Indian embassies in the Gulf had urged citizens to remain vigilant against a spate of derogatory posts on social media linking the coronavirus pandemic to the Muslim community in India.

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.

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