In a recent tweet, BJP Yuva National Convenor Devang Dave claimed that the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) arrested two people, including a man named Abu Tahir, for illegal possession of 7 kg of uranium in Nagpada, Mumbai. Devang is also the founder of the Facebook page ‘I Support Narendra Modi’.
BJP supporter and advocate Prashant Patel Umrao also tweeted that the ATS apprehended two individuals, both purportedly Muslims, for illegal possession of uranium. He identified the two accused as Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain and Mohammad Jigar.
News Nation Consulting Editor Deepak Chaurasia identified one accused as Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain and the other as Jigar. Arun Pudur also posted a similar tweet, though he mentioned that the other accused’s name is Jagir.
Twitter user @MeghUpdates wrote that there were two accused, but named only Abu Tahir.
The handle @PNRai1 quote-tweeted Chaurasia’s tweet, adding, “Uranium Jihad. Obviously, this wasn’t done out of good intentions. Good that these men were caught in Maharashtra, otherwise liberals and Congress supporters would have spun it as Hindus harassing Muslims.”
Facebook user Sunil Kumar Pandey claimed that three individuals were arrested in this case and all of them hailed from the Muslim community.
Misleading posts add a communal spin
On May 6, ATS officials reported the arrest of two people for illegal possession of 7 kg of uranium worth over Rs. 21 crores in Maharashtra. Uranium is a highly radioactive substance that can prove to be fatal if handled without proper care. India Today reported that on February 14, officials received a tip about a man named Jigar Pandya who was trying to sell pieces of uranium. The police arrested him on the same day. It was found during their investigation that he had obtained the uranium from a Mankhurd resident named Abu Tahir. The police immediately raided Tahir’s home and arrested him as well.
This led to confusion. Since different media outlets reported different names of Abu Tahir, social media users began claiming that there were three accused and not two.
Furthermore, Twitter user @MeghUpdates did not mention Jigar Pandya’s name and Prashant Patel claimed his name was ‘Mohammed’ Jigar thus giving the incident an anti-Muslim spin.