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Tripura violence: US based Muslim group cries foul after being booked under UAPA charges for spreading fake news Tripura Violence
Image by Mohammad Salman via Twitter (@writesalman)

Tripura violence: US based Muslim group cries foul after being booked under UAPA charges for spreading fake news

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 11 Nov 2021, 09:47 pm

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), the largest US-based advocacy organization of Indian American Muslims, has started playing victim card after its social media account with 101 others have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) by the Tripura police in India for spreading a series of fake news during the recent communal violence in the north-eastern state.

According to DisInfo Lab, which calls out fake news and propaganda, the IAMC has "strong connections" with Pan-Islamist networks- Jamaat, and terror-linked groups.

Recently, the Bangladesh-bordering north-eastern state witnessed incidents of arson, looting and alleged 'targeted violence' against the minority community in Tripura after reports emerged from Bangladesh that the Hindu minorities there had been attacked during ‘Durga Puja’ on allegations of 'blasphemy'.

The wide-spread communal violence in neighbouring Bangladesh had claimed at least seven lives.

A Durga Puja pandal in Bangladesh destroyed due to the communal violence last month. File image from Twitter.A Durga Puja pandal in Bangladesh destroyed due to the communal violence last month. File image from Twitter.

According to sources, after initiating investigation into the matter, Tripura police had listed over 150 social media accounts for scrutiny and later shortlisted 102 social media handles, including more than 68 Twitter accounts which allegedly had "malicious propaganda" in them and "potential to create hatred", for spreading fake news during the violence.

US-based Muslim advocay group IAMC is one of the 102 social accounts against which the Tripura police have invoked the UAPA charges.

Crying foul, the IAMC in a statement said it had been booked under the Indian anti-terror law for "urging the US President Joe Biden and Secretary Antony Blinken to condemn the Hindu extremist violence against minor Muslims in Tripura".

The organization, which has been busted multiple times by fact-checkers for circulating fake news against the majority communities in India round-the-year, has alleged that the UAPA sections have been slapped on it and other social media accounts just to "muzzle the voices that criticised the BJP-led Tripura government's response and complicity in the anti-Muslim violence".

"IAMC strongly condems these tactics and calls on Tripura Police to immediately withdraw these false charges against everyone and instead redirect these resources on investigating Hindu extremists who were involved in the targeted attacks against the members of Muslim community," the statement read.

IAMC Exposed!

DisInfo Lab, a separate legal entity with the motive of unveiling fake news and propaganda that intend to create turmoil among people, has accused the IAMC of having "strong links" with Pan-Islamist networks- Jamaat, and terror-linked groups.

The DisInfo Lab claimed IAMC is a US-based Jamaat affiliated group which is a hub for all anti-India activities— from lobbying against the nation to committing Covid-19 donation fraud to spreading fake news and reports.

"IAMC was founded in 2002 by Shaik Ubaid, former General Secretary of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)— the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jel)," according to the findings by DisInfo Lab.

"Shaik Ubaid conveniently denied his association with ICNA and later IAMC, though he continued to work with them to target India via Burma Task Force (BTF)— one of the several fronts under an umbrella organization called Justice for All (JFA) which is ‘powered by’ Chicago based company “Sound Vision” founded by Abdul Malik Mujahid in 1988," DisInfo Lab said.

DisInfo Lab said IAMC is headed by Rasheed Ahmed, who was the Executive Director of Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) from 2008 until 2017.

"IMANA is one of the three Islamist charities which collected millions of dollars for helping India during the pandemic and spent peanuts, and like ICNA, IMANA too has strong links with Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami and global terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)," DisInfo Lab added.

According to its findings, this nexus has been operating behind a labyrinth of Fronts— ranging from Justice for All, to Burma Task Force, to Save India— all with lofty names and loftier motives, but behind each of these fronts, there are the same set of people operating, and behind all this facade, the objective is one– targeting India’s image.

"IAMC has been working against Indian interests since its inception. While it claims that it’s against present govts’ policies, IAMC has been lobbying against India to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to get India listed as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) even during Congress regime in 2013-14," according to DisInfo Lab's findings.

The research and fact finding organization claimed IAMC hired US lobbying firm Fidelis Government Relations (FGR) in 2013-14 for $40,000 to lobby USCIRF against India, and it collected funds in the name of helping Rohingyas and Kosovo to lobby against India.

"For effective lobbying, IAMC manufactures evidence via fake news to incite communal violence and reinforces the narrative of minority plight in India— from fabricated stories on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) to Tripura violence— and they even created a fake database "DOTO" to show ‘atrocities’ on minorities," DisInfo Lab said.

Petition before Supreme Court against Tripura Police's action against 'fake news' mongers

Two advocates and a journalist, who are among the 102 people booked by Tripura police in connection with the recent communal violence, have filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking quashing of a criminal case lodged under the UAPA provisions against them.

According to reports, a bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana, and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli has agreed to hear the plea.