The former Shia Waqf Board chairperson, Syed Waseem Rizvi, filed a PIL against the 23 verses of the Quran on March 11, claiming that these verses promote violence.
In the backdrop of this event, many Twitter accounts have surfaced purportedly belonging to Waseem Rizvi. These accounts have shared a common Tweet seeking people's solidarity for his move of filing PIL against the Quran. The Tweet says, "Today the whole nation wants to behead me for filing PIL against the wrong Aayats of Quran. Have I done something wrong by standing for humanity? Will you Indians support me?".
The screenshots of these Tweets are widely shared on Facebook.
The viral images are of the Tweet done by Syed Waseem Rizvi.
The Logical Indian closely observed one of the Twitter handles, @IamWasimRizvi, whose screenshot of a tweet is most viral on social media.
We searched for the Twitter handle @IamWasimRizvi and found the Twitter account associated with it. The account name is Wasim Rizwi, while the spelling of his name is Waseem Rizvi.
We went through the Twitter account @IamWasimRizvi and found that the account was made in December 2020, but the account tweeted the first content on March 14. We also noticed that most of the contents uploaded by this Twitter handle were either hate speeches against minority or contents associated with upcoming West Bengal State Assembly elections 2021(Mostly content promoting BJP and maligning Trinamool Congress).
We also saw a Tweet done by this account against the TMC. The Tweet was of an injured female which, according to the tweet is the wife of the 'eye-witness' who told the media that Mamata Banerjee met with an accident in Nandigram and she was not attacked. The Tweet said that the lady in the image was stabbed by TMC supporters because her husband spoke against Mamata Banerjee. However, we were not able to verify the Tweet as there are no media reports around it. We also found that the same Tweet was done by many other pro-BJP accounts.
We contacted Ajayyendra Urmila Tripathi, an independent social media researcher, who told us that the Twitter handle had also shared some obscene contents previously (The Logical Indian verified the same), which it later deleted. He also said that most of the contents that were Tweeted by this Twitter handle were shared by many other Twitter handles, all masquerading as Waseem Rizvi. Tripathi told us, "This is a coordinated attempt to increase the reach of the contents associated with propaganda. There are many other Twitter handles personating as Waseem Rizvi and sharing contents associated with the right-wing ideology. Many Twitter users, including columnist Shefali Vaidya, have also retweeted the post from this Twitter handle." He also shared with us some images of other Twitter handles, which are sharing the same Tweet and all pretending to be of Waseem Rizvi.
We also looked upon various other Twitter accounts created using the name of Waseem Rizvi and found almost all of them were created recently and also had asked for retweeting their contents. Some of these Tweets were also earlier named by different Twitter handles. Example: @WasimRijvi was earlier named as mithunCbjp, @wasim_rizvi_ previously was handle @_Mithun_Da, etc.
We also searched with the keyword, 'Twitter account of Waseem Rizvi' on Google and it led us to a Twitter account that had the Twitter handle, '@shiawaqfboard'. This account was created in March 2018 and the last Tweet done by this account was on April 13, 2018. While we are not sure if this account belongs to Waseem Rizvi, but we could evidently conclude that many Twitter accounts are impersonating Rizvi and have surfaced online to promote communal hatred.
We tried contacting Waseem Rizvi but were not able to reach him.
Note: A person can change the username, Twitter handle, and name of the account, leaving no traces of the account's previous details. Many such fake accounts are rife on Twitter which changes the details of the account to be a part of an ongoing campaign. A campaign is running on Change.org asking Twitter to provide old details of an account to curb fake accounts.
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