Cyberabad police lands in controversy for responding to Islamophobic tweet

Rahul V Pisharody
Cyberabad police, hyderabad news, Cyberabad police response to twitter user, Asaduddin owaisi, Hyderabad police, indian express

Twitter questioned on what basis did the police respond to a tweet that cast aspersions on a particular community. (File)

The Cyberabad police landed in a controversy over its response to a Twitter user who had asked the police if they had done any background checks of "wannabe jihadis" working in American software companies in the wake of Iran's threat to attack US assets world over. Following a "yes" response by the police, several users flayed the Cyberabad police for allegedly legitimising an attempt to spread hate against a particular community. The police, however, maintained that it was a usual response and not intended to hurt any community.

A Twitter user named Suresh Kochattil Tuesday tweeted: "Many wannabe Jihadis work for American Software companies in Hyderabad? After #Iran threatened to hit US assets, has @hydcitypolice @cyberabadpolice @RachakondaCop done background check/risk assessment of these Peacefuls? Or cops are clueless? @KTRTRS @TelanganaDGP @USCGHyderabad." He tagged Cyberabad police, Hyderabad police and Rachakonda police in the post that he tweeted on the midnight of January 6.

What followed was a quick response from the official handle of the Cyberabad police. Within 20 minutes, it replied, "Yes sir... We have specialised wings for collection of advance intel and our teams are on the job 24X7. Thanks for alerting us. Please keep us updated if you find anything suspicious."

Kochattil responded: "Thank you for the quick response. The hint of terror attacks on American assets across the world is real, But I doubt police in twin cities have run a background check of people who can carry out such an attack. Don't want to name a sect or a religion here. But you can guess it."

This drew the ire of several Twitter users who questioned the basis on which the police responded to a tweet that cast aspersions on a particular community. Kochattil also received a lot of praise and support.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar said such "unnecessary controversies need no response". According to him, when someone asks if police are alert, the response would be a "yes".

"As police, we keep a tab on all information. Someone has alerted something and we have responded. Because it is an IT corridor, we always take it seriously. When someone asks "are you alert?", we are of course alert. It's a general reply and unnecessarily it's being made into a controversy. We are not targeting any community or so," he said.

He also denied any alert regarding any threat to US installations in the city.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also reacted to the Cyberabad police's response. "@cpcybd sir you say "yes sir" please enlighten how many such "jihadi" are working in software companies. Kindly give a number. If not, please clarify what you exactly meant. Will you reply to an MP or only to a Bhakt?" Owaisi tweeted.

He further tweeted, "@cpcybd sir whatever you do, but no killings in name of "encounter" at 05am please, if possible arrest and as accepted 3rd degree will be given but pls no cartoos in stomach CP saheb. Terrorism has no religion, (remember NGodse)."

Meanwhile, outside the US Consulate General's office in Begumpet, more policemen than usual are posted for the last few days. Police said it is a routine exercise.