Terrorist ploy. Clips of rail-road were removed.” Within an hour after the Muzaffarnagar train accident, scores of conspiracy theories started to float on social media. While some were speculative, others like twitter user Prashant Patel Umrao presented his version as a fact. It takes a detailed enquiry to establish the cause of the accident but rumor-mongers will not let go of this opportunity to further their divisive agenda.

Prashant Umrao Prayers for families who lost their loved ones & injuried in muzaffarnagar train accident. Terrorist Ploy. Clips of rail-road were removed.

However, the initial reports say nothing about a sabotage or a terrorist angle. While it may take months for the final police report to come out, quoting police sources, Republic reported that preliminary reports point to human error as the cause for derailment. NDTV report also pointed to human error.

An article on Gaon Connection which quotes two railway authorities claims that there was ongoing work on the railways track on which the derailment happened.

Despite the news reports, rumour mongering continued and Umrao was not alone in his assertions. A twitter handle that goes by the name of Gini Khan presented a communal explanation for the accident.

Giniromet 2 facts- 1. Muslim population in #Muzaffarnagar is quite high. 2. Last year,150 died in Kanpur train accident in which ISI was involved.

This is not the first time that we have seen such tweets from these twitter handles. While Khan is a fake profile, Umrao is a verified account with a blue tick. He was the person behind victim shaming with a fake picture of Varnika Kundu after the Chandigarh stalking incident. More recently he circulated false budget numbers claiming that Hamid Ansari’s budget was six times that of the President of India.

It is terror activity,” Brajesh Misra, Chief of Bharat Samachar TV and Chairman of UPTV Pvt Ltd, also passed his verdict within a few hours of the accident.

brajesh mishra It's not train accident...its terror activity. NIA shud probe it.

As reports started to stream in about the possibility of a human error, Misra amended the narrative he initially tried to push. From a “terror activity” it became “criminal negligence” and when confronted about the discrepancy he spoke of “multiple reasons behind accidents”

Meanwhile ANI reported of locals distributing breakfast and tea and people of all communities helping in the rescue operations.

Such news of harmony is not good news for twitter warriors. In a desperate attempt to provide a new divisive angle to the tragedy, Umrao tweeted, “It could be an act of terrorism to kill Hindu pilgrims traveling to Haridwar from Puri.Kanpur & Muzaffarnagar accidents similar. Rail Jihad

Prashant Umrao Track was cut 1 metre at accident site, welding machine is found. Railway workers are absconding. Intelligence suspecting conspiracy. It could be an act of terrorism to kill Hindu pilgrims traveling to Haridwar from Puri. Kanpur & muzaffarnagar accidents similar. Rail Jihad?

It is important to note that till the time of writing the article, there was no official confirmation of the cause of the accident. There is talk of ongoing incomplete repair work and possible human error but there is no confirmation as yet. Twitter warriors are perhaps taking an anticipatory stance to counter anyone pinning blame on the government. Or it could be a more sinister ploy to use a tragic accident to further their polarizing agenda. Either way, in the absence of an official confirmation, social media users need to be cautious before they believe conspiracy theories, particularly those that are put across by repeat offenders known for their rumor-mongering.