Nagpur: Orthopaedic surgeon arrested for calling for genocide of Muslims, later released on bail

The Nagpur Police booked Sonar for hurting religious sentiments.

Representative Image | A man wearing a protective mask walks towards a bus that will take him to a quarantine facility, in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi on March 31. | Reuters

The Nagpur Police in Maharashtra on Tuesday arrested an orthopaedic surgeon for calling for the genocide of Muslims. Dr Satish B Sonar was arrested for a tweet he had made on April 23.

“Now, since radical, Islamist and anarchist journos and illegitimate citizens are talking about so called Islamophobia and Genocide…So let’s begin it, prove them right,” Sonar tweeted. “Wipe out the [expletive] from the map.”

He had tweeted several other hate messages from his Twitter account but later claimed that it was hacked.

The Nagpur Police booked Sonar for “hurting religious sentiments”, following a complaint by a person named Shahbaz Siddique, The Times of India reported. Gittikhadan Police Station Senior Inspector Sunil Gangurde said that Sonar was produced before a local court, which released him on bail.

Muslims have been the target of hate crimes ever since a meeting of a group known as the Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi in March resulted in a huge number of coronavirus cases around the country. 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. Several Indians are facing legal action in the United Arab Emirates.

Fake videos on social media platforms have claimed to show Muslim men spitting on food, licking plates and sneezing in unison to spread the virus. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT Cell and some television channels have blamed Muslims for spreading the pandemic.

In several places, this has resulted in violence. On April 7, rumours about Muslim men intentionally spitting to spread the virus reportedly led to group clashes in Jharkhand’s Gumla district. A youth was beaten to death and two others were injured in the incident.

Media Scanner, a fact-checking platform, compiled a list of at least 69 fake videos against Muslims and listed at least 28 attacks prompted by online abuse, until April 21.

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