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State facts, not rhetoric: Right wing group slams Zuckerberg over Kapil Mishra speech row

Group of Intellectuals and Academicians has written an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg after he mentioned BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech to outline Facebook's hate speech policy.

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New Delhi: A right wing fact-finding group has come down heavily on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for quoting BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s controversial speechthough he did not name him — as an example of social media incitement.

The Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg Monday and said he must make his statements “with the conviction of facts and data rather than rhetoric”.

Lawyer Monika Arora, GIA convener, told ThePrint they were upset with Zuckerberg for his remarks.

“We read about his remarks and felt it was important to set the record straight. We have written an open letter and will be emailing him our response too as a fact-finding team from the GIA had gone to northeast Delhi and conducted ground research into the riots that he has referred to in his interaction with the Facebook employees,” said Arora, who is also associated with the RSS. 

During a video interaction with his employees last week, Zuckerberg sought to outline clear social media incitement by quoting Mishra’s speech made in February.

“And there have been cases in India, for example, where someone said, ‘Hey, if the police don’t take care of this, our supporters will get in there and clear the streets’,” Zuckerberg said.

“That is kind of encouraging supporters to go do that in a more direct way, and we took that down. So we have a precedent for that,” he said.

Zuckerberg’s quote appeared to be a reference to a speech made by Mishra that is alleged to be one of the primary triggers of the northeast Delhi riots in February, which killed over 50 people.


Also read: Zuckerberg uses Kapil Mishra’s ‘Delhi riots threat’ to outline Facebook’s hate speech policy


What does the letter say

According to the letter: “It is heartening to know that the CEO of Facebook, the original networking platform that we all use across the globe is watching with concern the use of the platform for promotion of hate speech and is vigilant about the same.”

“Your interactions with your 25,000 employees regarding hate speech mentioned India. Your widely reported interaction is quoted here… ‘And there have been cases in India, for example, where someone said, ‘Hey, if the police don’t take care of this, our supporters will get in there and clear the streets’. That is kind of encouraging supporters to go do that in a more direct way, and we took that down. So we have a precedent for that.’ You have made an obvious reference to the recent Delhi riots which took place in February 2020,” the letter stated. 

It then went on to “present facts”.

“We present you the facts from ground: Delhi was being systematically subject to communalisation and violence from December 2019 itself, much before the purpoted (sic) ‘encouragement’ you mention.”

“Data collected from the ground reveals that protest sites against an Indian government policy, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), systematically established in Delhi since mid December 2019 were far from peaceful,” the letter said. 

The letter then narrated the incidents that took place, which are also part of a report prepared by the GIA, called ‘Delhi Riots 2020: a report from ground zero’.

“Thus northeast Delhi and particularly the Jaffrabad–Wazirpur road, more specifically the 66 foot road was an area that was violent much before 23 February, the day referred by you in your interaction with 25,000 employees of Facebook.”

“The immensely provocative act of blocking an arterial road connecting the population of 25 lakhs approximately from outside was again done by anti-CAA protesters in the intervening night between 22 and 23 February 2020. A violent crowd of stone-pelters were already on the roads by the afternoon of 23 February 2020. By night the violence had intensified,” the letter stated. 

Take ‘note’ of facts 

The letter then asked Zuckerberg to pass statements with facts. 

“Mr Mark Zuckerberg, we appreciate that you are a responsible person and your statements must be made with the conviction of facts and data rather than rhetoric. We have presented you the facts. Please take note,” it added.

The letter added: “GIA, the Group of Intellectuals and Academicians, is a forum for professional and articulate women that took shape in 2014, as a questioning, sane voice in a charged socio-political atmosphere when political rhetoric and hysteria was at its fever pitch. GIA was founded on April 25, 2015.”

The GIA is one of the two fact-finding groups that the home ministry has acknowledged with regard to the Delhi riots.

The group had met Minister of State for Home G. Kishen Reddy in March to present a report titled ‘The Shaheen Bagh Model in North-East Delhi: From Dharna to Danga’. 


Also read: ‘Hate speech continues on social media’: Ex-RSS ideologue moves HC against Facebook, Twitter


 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. What utter nonsense! Zuckerberg referred to Mishra’s speech as an example of incendiary speech. How do the events prior to or following the speech change the fact that it was an incendiary speech?

  2. The example mentioned by Zuckerberg was shown as an instance of what could be termed as provocative. There may or may not have been a direct link between the protests and the riots. What is the point that GIA is trying to make here? That Zuckerberg go and stop people from protesting? How was the instance that he put forward as an example wrong in itself? Is it ok for someone especially in a leadership position to make such a statement of taking law into their own hands?

  3. Maybe the speech where a BJP leader mentions during the Delhi 2019 elections that if people don’t vote for BJP, “they” will come to your house and assault your women, and then Modiji won’t be able to save you, is a better example than the one MZ used? I wonder what the fact finders would find fault with there….Hmm…

  4. George Orwell wrote 1984 with mainly communist regimes in mind, wherein the inconvenient history was erased from public memory . I never imagined that one day our country will find resonance with that…

  5. Mark Zuckerberg is a LIBRANDU who can be easily mislead by lies and fabrications of facts by other LIBRANDUS. Members of Librandu club have one peculiar trait that they don’t feel the need to validate the information and data shared by other librandus. A fake research episode of Medical journal LANCET is the recent example of deceit and fakery by librandus researchers. Librandus don’t apply any standard for the one they intensely hate. Expecting any sensible judgement from librandus is like expecting SUN to stop burning. Though most librandus are fighting for their survival, few rich ones often vomit hate.

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