New Delhi: Days after Jharkhand teen Ankita Singh succumbed to her injuries in a hospital in Ranchi after being set on fire by her stalker Shahrukh, Simab Akhtar, a journalist from Bihar-based News4Nation was fired for allegedly making inappropriate ‘Jihadi’ and sexually suggestive comments on Facebook regarding the horrific incident.
In his comments on social media, Akhtar can be seen saying “She betrayed him, he set her on fire. Where there’s lust, there’s sympathy”.
Meet Simab Akhtar – Patna based senior Journalist of News4Nation.
This is how he’s celebrating #Shahrukh burning #AnkitaSingh
He then goes on to make se¥ually suggestive comments again. pic.twitter.com/aDX1M1rfFH
— Mihir Jha (@MihirkJha) August 30, 2022
His comments were shared on Twitter by Vishwa Hindu Parishad Bajrang Dal Province Co-Convener Shubham Bhardwaj, tagging Bihar police among others and demanding that government institutions take action against him for his inappropriate comments. The tweet has over 600 likes and 500 retweets.
पत्रकार @simabakhtar2 ने विधर्मियों द्वारा जलाई गई बहन अंकित सिंह पर अमर्यादित टिप्पणी की है। कोई सरकारी तंत्र है जो कार्रवाई करे?#JusticeForAnkitaSingh @swati_gs @AjeetBhartii @KapilMishra_IND @officecmbihar @bihar_police @news4nations @OpIndia_in @OpIndia_com @News18Bihar pic.twitter.com/ZKPc9x6m9r
— Shubham Bhardwaj (@Shubham_vhp) August 30, 2022
Consequently, the Patna-based journalist was fired by News4Nation, who stated that the organization does not support any of its journalists’ personal comments that may hurt public sentiments.
Speaking to ThePrint, News4Nation said, “News4Nation considers itself a neutral news organisation. We were compelled to fire Akhtar due to his Facebook comments as they did not abide by company policies. While we do not question Akhtar’s credibility or work, he was warned while joining to follow our policies and not make any such comments.
However, his comments, especially from his Facebook page stating that he is a senior journalist with News4Nation, has brought disrepute to the organisation. Hence, the decision was taken after deliberation by senior channel members and we were not threatened by any organisation.”
However, Akhtar told ThePrint that the screenshots shared were doctored and his comments taken out of their context.
“The conversation occurred on a post regarding the recent death of Jharkhand teen Ankita Singh, where they mentioned that India’s daughter (desh beti) had been killed. To that I responded that Bilkis Bano was also India’s daughter as well as the school girl in Vaishali. However, my comments were taken out of context by members of the Karni sena, who deleted the other comments on the post and shared an altered version of the conversation on Twitter”,said Akhtar to ThePrint.
He further added, “The phrase that I used in my comments, ‘ज़्यादा बियाकुल नहीं होना है’ (roughly translated as don’t be too restless) is often used by ministers in Bihar. I received numerous death threats after these screenshots were shared and even apologized for these doctored comments. My organization also received many threats from Karni sena members and were hence, forced to fire me.”
Akhtar later removed his apology as “things were getting out of hand”.
This is not the first time Simab Akhtar has faced threats from Hindu right wing outfits. In 2018, Akhtar received threats for his post on social media saying that Modi will use the name of Vajpayee for votes in the 2019 Assembly polls.
The Jharkhand school girl’s death early morning Sunday in Ranchi sparked protests across the state as the victim and alleged perpetrator were from different religions. Hindutva outfits like the Karni Sena and others have carried out protest marches, with some organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad noting the communal nature of the crime.
VHP’s Jharkhand’s prant pracharak Virendra Sahu issued a statement Monday demanding “death by hanging” for the “jihadi” accused, and security for the deceased’s family.
The term ‘Love-Jihad’ is being frequently used in this case, with Hindu right-wing organisations accusing Shahrukh, a Muslim of intending to commit “love jihad” by converting Singh, a Hindu, to his religion. These outfits have been demanding justice for the 16-year-old teen and even attempted to prevent the police from cremating her body late Sunday night, stating that it was against Hindu religion. She was cremated early Monday morning.
The police were forced to clamp 144 CrPC in the district, banning all protests, rallies and demonstrations due to the unstable law and order situation in the state.
Source: The Print