The Mask Of Mujtaba Shafi

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Kashmir University Employee used @icashmir handle to post hate content against the state, provoke youth

Anti-India bigotry and Indophobia have become pervasive features of a section of ideologically extremist government servants in Kashmir. Whether on social media platforms or the mainstream media, these men and women are obsessed with negative stereotypes relating to India, and fear-mongering messaging about the state. Their anti-India prejudice does not stop here. The tendency to demean and demonize those having nationalistic credentials is the normal trait of these individuals with dubious character.

These government servants have normalized Hate India bigotry. They do not disclose their identity on micro-blogging sites and hide behind fake names. This trend of using fake names picked up in Kashmir post the Burhan Wani episode in 2016. This was the time when the Cyber Intelligence Wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police started monitoring the activities of social media hate mongers.

Many such Indophobic individuals, especially Twitter users, deactivated their personal accounts after the Cyber Intelligence Wing of the J&K Police issued summons to them. 

They started cyber bullying through fake accounts and continued to post hateful, highly objectionable content. Though the trend of using fake names had been noticed before too, it picked up pace in 2016. Another hall mark of this bandwagon is that they upload objectionable content on fake handles and then share or retweet it from their personal handles. These government employees enjoy all perks and privileges from the state but work for the enemies of the state.

Working For The Enemies Of The State

One such government employee is Mujtaba Shafi, a System Engineer in the Bioinformatics Centre of Kashmir University. Mujtaba was active on twitter using the fake account @icashmir. Mujtaba has done Bachelors in Electronics and Communication. For many years, Mujtaba has been highly active on social media platforms, particularly Twitter, writing highly provocative content against the state.

Mujtaba would often curse the government even as he drew a heavy salary from the state. During 2016 and thereafter, Mujtaba uploaded highly emotive content on his Twitter handle, designed to instigate youngsters, particularly the students of Kashmir University.

Mujtaba mastered the art of cyber bullying. His Twitter handle gained huge following. Living the secure life of a government employee with high salary and perks, Mujtaba caused unimaginable damage to public order. His instigative and provocative content against India led many innocent but emotionally vulnerable youth to the path of violence and destruction.

The Cyber Wing of J&K Police has gathered technological and analytical evidence about Mujtaba’s links with an ISI operative in Pakistan. Superintendent of Police Tahir Ashraf Bhatti, who was heading the Cyber Cell till a few weeks ago, confirmed that the police is keeping a close vigil on social media abusers who operate under fake names.

A senior police officer presently dealing with cyber bullying confirmed that the IP address of @icashmir belongs to Mujtaba Shafi of Bioinformatics centre of Kashmir University.

“In 2016, the IP address of @icashmir was traced to the Bioinformatics Centre of Kashmir University. Ground verification confirmed that this Twitter handle belongs to Mujtaba Shafi,” the officer said. He said that Mujtaba’s handle was blocked by Twitter several times. Given his expertise in electronics, he used tricks to revive his handle and continued cyber bullying. The officer said that social media abusers don’t realize that for fun or at the behest of their underground contacts, they snatch the lives of many youth. “How unfortunate it is that you instigate young blossoming buds to take weapons in their hands while you are comfortable playing with the keyboard in your office chamber drawing huge salaries, enjoying privileges and perks from the government,” the police officer said. He emphasized that the administration will not spare anyone indulging in such inhuman activities.

The officer revealed that the government is examining whether action can be initiated against Mujataba Shafi under Article 311 of the Constitution which provides for an employee’s dismissal from services for being a threat to the nation’s security. He said that message needs to be loud and clear. 

“You can’t get away with your actions responsible for putting blossoming youth on the path of death and destruction. Such people are a threat to the nation’s security, and they also cause heavy social damages. They snatch sons from mothers, and give them weapons in their hands.”

When contacted, Mujtaba Shafi denied that he had been operating the @icashmir Twitter handle. “I am not operating this account,” Mujtaba told Kzine. When confronted with the information provided by the police and the ground verification, Mujtaba said he would respond only after consulting his lawyer. Moments after this correspondent spoke to Mujtaba, @icashmir account was removed from the Twitter.

400 Twitter Handles In Zone Red

According to the police, fake profiles are created with anonymous identity and photographs to make readers believe that the posts are legitimate. Innocent youngsters get carried away by the misleading content.

Police has identified over 400 Twitter handles which are used to propagate false information in Kashmir.

 Currently, the police have observed huge traffic in retweeting provocative tweets. “We have identified multiple locally operated handles that are being used with fake names. Most of these accounts have the Pakistan flag in bio to give the impression that these handles are operated from Pakistan,” a senior officer said.

We are contemplating to use a platform called Twint and a trends map to gather information related to the discussion that happens between these account holders and their operatives from across the border.

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