On June 4, screenshots of a highly inflammatory tweet on a Hindu goddess made by a user named Asif Khan, went viral on Twitter. The user had declared himself to be an employee of GoAir on his Twitter bio, which led many to trend the hashtag #boycottgoair throughout the day.
By the end of the day, GoAir announced that the company shall terminate the contract of trainee First Officer Asif Khan for posting the inflammatory tweet. In a turn of events, Khan took to Facebook to claim that the inflammatory tweet was not made by him, but by an impersonator, and that he has lodged a police complaint against the imposter.
Following Khan's statement, GoAir is reportedly investigating the matter, and has put his termination on hold.
The screenshots of the tweet and the profile were posted on June 4 by a user who goes by the name BALA (@erbmjha), who has over 60,000 followers. The first image showed the inflammatory tweet, and the second one was a screenshot of the user named Asif Khan (@MdAsif35534489)
The user urged people to retweet his post, until the person who posted the inflammatory tweets gets first. The tweet instantly became viral, with people sharing it with the hashtag #boycottgoair.
BOOM found that the account of Asif Khan (@MdAsif35534489) was deleted by then.
Soon after, GoAir put out a tweet stating that they were investigating the matter to verify if they had any employee with the name Asif Khan. They also stressed on their zero tolerance policy towards behaviour that flout company rules on social media. Later that evening, the company put out another tweet claiming that it is terminating the contract of trainee First Officer Asif Khan for making the inflammatory post.
Turn Of Events
"It is under investigation now and soon the police will submit its final report, and I am 100% sure that I will come out clean."
Things took a turn the very next day, when a Facebook user named Asif Khan put out a detailed post on the social media platform to explain his side of the story. Khan - who claims be the trainee First Officer mentioned in GoAir's tweet - claimed that he was not the person behind the inflammatory tweets, and that him and his family were being wrongly targetted with threats and abuses in a case of mistaken identity.
He mentioned that a video was made against him by YouTube channel "Buzzing Trends Official", where he claims that his Facebook account was linked to this whole incident, which attracted hate comments and threats. The video has now been taken down, and Buzzing Trends Official has published another video to apologise for the mistake and set the record straight.
Khan also posted a screenshot of his Twitter profile, which goes by the handle @FarOutAsif. In conversation with BOOM, Khan said that GoAir has cancelled his termination while waiting for the investigation to get over, during which he is temporarily suspended.
"It is under investigation now and soon the police will submit its final report, and I am 100% sure that I will come out clean. I never wanted this kind of publicity. I just want all this to be over soon so that I can get on with my normal life. I don't want this matter to be dragged anymore," Khan said.
News18, who had earlier written about the GoAir's swift move to terminate Khan's contact with the company, reported on Sunday that the airlines company has revoked the termination after Khan filed a police complaint at the cyber cell of Mumbai Police. GoAir told News18 that Khan will only be suspended after an inquiry is made, externally and internally, on this matter.
Later on, GoAir put out an update on the matter, mentioning that they have been informed by the Cyber Crime division of Mumbai Police regarding the complaint filed by Khan.
They also confirmed that Khan has not been terminated, and that an appropriate decision will be taken once the investigation is over.
Two Users, Same Name
BOOM compared the accounts of @MdAsif35534489 (who posted the inflammatory tweets) and @FarOutAsif (GoAir employee) and found that the only thing common between the two was the account name "Asif Khan" - a common Muslim name.
We also compared the profile photos of the two, and found them to be completely different.
We also ran the profile picture of the person posting the communal tweets through a Yandex reverse image search. The only result that contained this photo redirected us to a dubious chat page for flirting with Indian men. BOOM could not ascertain the identity of the person in the photo.
Updated On: 2020-06-09T21:10:08+05:30