First Paris, now Nice: Sikh man faces social media wrath, again

  • Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Toronto
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 13:10 IST
The image of Veerender Jubbal, which was changed to show him holding a Quran and what appeared to be a suicide vest, spread quickly in the wake of the Paris carnage last November. (Social media)

A young Sikh freelance writer from the Greater Toronto area has found himself the victim of intense social media speculation over the identity of perpetrators who ploughed through a crowd of revelers in Nice, killing more than 80 people.

This is the second time in less than a year that Veerender Jubbal has been alleged to be a terrorist orchestrating militant strikes in France, despite never having traveled to the country.

After the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, social media was littered with a selfie of Jubbal, showing him wearing a suicide vest and holding up a Quran.

Read: At least 84 killed in Nice attack; 18 people in critical condition

He was described as one of the terrorists and that photograph made its way into international media, including a Spanish newspaper and an Italian television network.

But there was one problem: That image had been photoshopped. In the original, Jubbal was wearing a shirt and holding up a tablet. This photo is doing the rounds of social media again after the carnage in Nice shocked the world.

Despite the photo being altered, he was trolled incessantly and tweeted a clarification, “Let us start with basics. Never been to Paris. Am a Sikh dude with a turban. Lives in Canada.”

Later, in a statement, he said, “People are editing, and photoshopping my selfies as if I am one of the people causing the issues/problems in Paris.”

Other than being trolled, he also received a death threat. Consequently, he went off Twitter. Jubbal may have been attacked since he had tweeted into the hashtag #StopGamergate2014, offending fanatic videogamers.

While that frenzy abated, another attack in France has led to that faked image being recycled on social media. Jubbal, so far, hasn’t responded to this fresh wave of slander.

Read: Scores dead in France truck attack: What we know so far

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