Fake Twitter Accounts Defend Rajasthan CM's Tweet About Zafar Khan's Death

Pop up Twitter accounts use fake identities to defend Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, comments on Zaffar Khan's alleged lynching

Vasundhara Raje, CM, Rajasthan

A tweet by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the death of a man allegedly lynched by civic officials has generated a new controversy with several fake Twitter accounts speaking in defense of the state government.

Civic body officials in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh have denied that they assaulted Zafar Khan on June 16th, leading to his death, after he objected to them taking photographs of women defecating in the open, the Indian Express reported. Khan's death has sparked concerns about growing incidents of locals taking law and order into their hands.

The word 'demise' was also used by IG Police Udaipur's handle @igpoliceudaipur, which BOOM made a few calls and verified as a legitimate account.

Raje's June 18th tweet, which received 388 replies at the time of writing this story, received many angry responses, most of which criticized her for using the word 'demise', which implied that Zafar Khan died of natural causes, a statement corroborated by local police to BOOM.

Anand Shrivastava, Inspector General of Police, Udaipur Range told BOOM that the police had set up a medical board comprising of five doctors who ruled that Zafar Khan died due to cardio respiratory failure.

"There was no visual (indications) or serious injuries on his body which could cause death," Shrivastava said.

Among angry replies to the chief minister's tweet, two Twitter handles stood out, Aashif Khan (@kaashif752) and one Juned Khan (@juned45658)

Aashif Khan kept replying to Raje's tweet, arguing with others who replied on the thread and insisting that Zafar Khan's death was caused by a heart attack.

However, Aashif Khan is a fake account that has stolen a picture of Sandeep Amar, chief executive of Indian Express Digital.

BOOM found a November 2012 article that carried Sandeep Amar's image. We contacted Amar, who confirmed his picture has been misused and that he reached out to Twitter to take appropriate action against the account.

A second fake account named 'Juned Khan' tweeting in favour of Raje's government was also spotted. The account has misused a picture of one Sandeep Biswas, faculty at Central University of Jharkhand. Biswas was not immediately available to comment.

More fake accounts were spotted by other users on Twitter who called out their bluff.

We do not know the real identities of the people operating these fake accounts.

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