Raheel Khursheed’s new job at Twitter raises disturbing questions

Mr. Raheel Khursheed was recently appointed by Twitter India as Head – News, Politics and Government, as his Twitter bio shows.

His appointment has raised objections from several quarters and for reasons that are not unfounded. In fact, a petition to the CEO and the Board of Twitter Inc calling for the revocation of Raheel Khursheed has been filed at change.org, the very organization Raheel Khursheed was earlier working at.

Such concerns stem from the fact of Raheel’s extreme political, social and religious views.

The first is Raheel Khursheed’s extreme views about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The following are some samples Raheel’s slanderous tweets–made on several occasions–which reveal his irrational contempt for Modi.

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This contempt, bordering on hatred, has also spilled over to the Gujarati community as well. Here is a tweet illustrating this.

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This tweet, which is openly derogatory of one of the holiest Hindu festivals, the Navratri, has an unmistakable racist tinge to it.

And so, apart from the fact that Raheel’s comments against Narendra Modi are slanderous and were made when the Gujarat-riots cases were still sub-judice, the comments on the Navratra festival are clearly racist and undoubtedly hurt the sentiments of Gujaratis in particular and Hindus in general.

Even if it is conceded that Mr. Raheel Khursheed could have made these comments in his personal capacity, the fact that he holds a senior level position at Twitter India makes it a clear case of conflict of interest.

Twitter as a corporate entity being an open and neutral platform for sharing ideas, views and information— without having any ideological affiliation of its own— Raheel’s tweets give rise to a classic case of conflict of interest. It causes suspicion as to how a person who is so ideologically biased against a religion and has demonstrated open hatred towards a constitutionally elected head of a state, can be expected to function objectively in his official capacity, although his twitter bio claims that his views are personal.

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This consequently raises the question as to whether Twitter India has any official political affiliation. If it has, that affiliation must be made public. However, if Twitter claims to be politically neutral, it must take serious note of the words, deeds and behavior of its employees who hold responsible positions in the organization.

Given the current political and social context in India, plus with the general elections to the Parliament fast approaching, it becomes incumbent on Twitter to clarify:

a) Whether it is ideologically affiliated to a political party in India, and if so, it must name the party.

b) Whether it endorses the language and the slanderous behavior of its employees like Mr. Raheel Khursheed.

c) Whether no conflict of interest exists between Mr. Raheel’s personal views and the association that such views create in public perception of Mr. Raheel as an employee of Twitter, and Twitter as a politically/ideologically neutral organization.

IndiaFacts Staff articles, reports and guest pieces