Abhijit Iyer-Mitra makes offensive remark against AltNews co-founder Mohd Zubair

Iyer-Mitra is associated with The Print and several Twitter users have demanded that the publication drop his columns

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra

The hate speech pandemic is spreading faster and wider than the coronavirus in India! The number of vile comments against minorities and their subsequent ostracisation is for everyone to see. However, a recent tweet by Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and a defence economics specialist, has showcased just how low one can stoop.

On May 31, Mohammed Zubair, the Co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, had tweeted from his official Twitter handle @zoo_bear calling out Dr. Aarti Lalchandani, Principal – Kanpur Medical College for her statement where she called Tablighi Jamaat members “terrorists” and said that the government was wasting resources on them instead of putting them in solitary confinement in jail.



It was in response to this tweet that Abhijit Iyer-Mitra responded in a most vile and outrageous manner, calling Zubair “Jihadi Jabbar” and making offensive remarks against his mother, apart from outraging religious sentiments. Though the tweet has since been deleted, it has been screenshot and circulated to hold him accountable for his hateful comments.

He was called out by Pratik Sinha, the Co-founder of AltNews, who apprised users that Iyer-Mitra was associated with many organizations like India Today and was a regular on channels like Times Now and Republic TV.



He had earlier too made a similar remark against Mohammed Zubair.



Iyer-Mitra is associated with various publications, most famously including The Print which has regularly published his articles. After his response to Mohammed Zubair, several Twitter users, including journalists have asked the micro-blogging site to take away his blue-tick and demanded the organizations he is associated with to boycott him and drop his columns from their websites.



Prior to this, Iyer-Mitra has called AltNews an ISI Front, apparently in reply to Sinha’s tweet on his comment to Zubair. However, that tweet too has since been deleted.



Iyer-Mitra is a repeat offender and has spent 43 days in jail in 2018 for “insulting Odia sentiments and traditions” after he made offensive remarks about the Konark Sun Temple. At the time, many publications had defended him and condemned his arrest by saying it was an attack on free speech.

Twitter’s hate speech guidelines prohibit users from promoting violence or directly attacking / threatening people on the basis of race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, etc. Iyer-Mitra’s abusive rant against Mohammed Zubair is in gross violation of this policy and also the violent threats policy of the microblogging site.

However, even after repeated complaints, neither has his account been suspended nor has the verification tick been removed.


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