New Delhi: Al Jazeera media network on Sunday condemned online harassment and death threats from Hindutva nationalists to Indian-Kashmiri journalist Raqib Hameed Naik for his articles on the alleged misuse of COVID-19 relief funds in the United States.
Indian journalist Raqib and regular contributor of Al-Jazeera took to Twitter on May 18 and wrote, “On May 13, I received a long message on Facebook with death threats from Hindu nationalist Rajesh Jhaveri regarding my COVID funding report.”
As per the tweet, a self-proclaimed Hindutva Nationalist Rajesh Jhaveri has threatened to kill Raqib in case he writes more on the Hindu right-wing.
As per the article published by Al Jazeera, Raqib reported that about five organizations with links to Hindu and religious supremacy groups have received $833,000 in COVID-19 relief funding. These funds were issued by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that assists small business owners and entrepreneurs.
As per the media reports, SBA gave the funds as part of its COVID-19 pandemic aid,relief, and economic security (CARES) act’s economic injury disaster loan advance (EIDLA), disaster assistance loan (DAL) and paycheck protection program (PPP).
The three programs were aimed at providing economic relief to struggling companies and preserving their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis in the world’s worst-hit country.
But the money given to these right-wing groups angered many.
The journalist further wrote that he reported the threat to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and had to follow up with local law enforcement as well.
“Naik has already reported death threats to US law enforcement agencies, but continues to face online harassment from individuals and groups just for doing his job,” Al Jazeera said in a statement on Sunday. “(Al Jazeera) stands by Naik impeccable journalism and supports his professional contribution,” it said.
However, supporters of Hindu groups continued to harass Raqib on social media, and also made death threats against him.