How Divya Spandana Congress ‘fan page’ became an Islamist propaganda page Maktoob Media: OpIndia investigates

Maktoob media – a propaganda portal with a rich history of spreading Islamic propaganda and Hinduphobic content on social media platforms, appears to have a connection to the Congress party. OpInida’s investigation into the Islamist Portal’s history revealed that the Portal’s social media pages were once either run by the Congress party’s social media cell or the main page acted as the “fan page”. of the former head of the congressional IT unit. Here’s what we know:

Maktoob Media

According to the Maktoob Media website, Maktoob is an “independent” media initiative founded in Delhi in 2014 by two Kerala-based journalists, Aslah Kayyalakkath and Naseel Here. However, Maktoob Media’s social media pages used to be the Congress leader’s fan page.

OpIndia investigation revealed that Facebook page of Maktoob media may have been created by the supporters of the Congress party in 2017. When we looked at the history of Maktoob media Facebook, it came out that one of the Former Congress Leaders’ fan pages, run by the Congress’ IT unit, was renamed Maktoob Media.

Maktoob media Facebook page was launched as “Ramya Spandana Fanc”, a fan page account established on October 17, 2017. The fan account is dedicated to former Congress leader and social media manager Divya Spandana, also known as Ramya. .

The history of the Maktoob media page on Facebook

It is interesting to know that former actress Divya Spandana was the head of the Congress party’s social media cell in 2017. It is not yet clear whether the Congress IT cell created this Facebook page as a tool for propaganda to boost actress-turned-politician Divya. The popularity of Spandana. But, later, it became a full-fledged Islamic propaganda site.

Later, the page was renamed “Ramya Spandana – Fans Page”.

Interestingly, seven months later, the page morphed into Ramya Maktoob Media in June 2018. Again, a few days later, Facebook, apparently run by Congress supporters, changed its avatar to Maktoob Media. 2.

The Facebook page probably animated by the computer unit of Congress to restore the image of a former politician had now become an information site in its own right. Finally, in September 2018, Divya Spandana’s fan page was renamed “Maktoob media”, a site dedicated to the peddling of Islamist propaganda.

Media Maktoob – from a Congressional IT cell page to an Islamist propaganda site

Since then, the Maktoob media has transformed itself into a “secular-neutral media” from being a congressional IT cell to a full-time Islamic propaganda website spreading false allegations against Hindus. The page has been repeatedly caught peddling fake news over the past few years not only to absolve the crimes committed by Muslim criminals in the country, but also to show that Muslims in India are victims of hatred and violence.

In June last year, the Kerala-based portal was caught spreading lies related to the Loni incident. The portal had shared an edited video of an elderly Muslim man from Loni in Uttar Pradesh being beaten by a few individuals. However, the Islamist portal had given the crime a communal color by saying that he had been beaten for refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. Ghaziabad Police had clarified that there was no community angle to the incident.

In fact, it was later revealed that some of the people who allegedly beat him were also Muslim and they did so after a ‘taveez’ (amulet) he made for someone didn’t work. . Despite the clarifications, the Islamist portal continued to peddle lies about the Loni incident.

Additionally, during the anti-CAA riots, Maktoob media had selectively shared videos to misinform the public about attacks on students inside the Jamia Millia campus.

At 1:30 a.m. on February 16, 2020, a Twitter account by the name of “Jamia Coordinating Committee” (JCC) (now deleted) tweeted an “exclusive CCTV footage” of Jamia Millia Islamia University’s Reading Room . The carefully edited video shared by JCC was quickly used by the anti-BJP ecosystem, including journalists, to expose police brutality. Jamia provided footage to MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development), NHRC (National Human Rights Commission), Delhi Police, Internal Investigation Team as well as Jamia Teachers Association. Sources in Jamia say the CCTV footage was also given to some people who were allegedly injured and wanted to take legal action. They received images on the condition that they only use these images for legal proceedings.

Later, another video surfaced, “exclusive footage” obtained by Maktoob Media. Maktoob Media claims he had an hour-long footage, but opted to only release a cut version of around 5 minutes.

At the time, on his website, he mentioned that he was based in Delhi. This mentioned “Shaheen Abdulla” as Associate Creative Writer in its “About Us” section. Who was Shaheen Abdulla? Shaheen Abdulla was the same person who was ‘rescued’ by the ‘Jamia Sheroes’ hailed by controversial journalist Barkha Dutt. Husband of Aysha Renna, one of the “Sheroes”, Afsal Rahman, also worked with Maktoob Media. According to his LinkedIn profilehe was associated with Maktoob until September 2019.

Shaheen, Ladeeda and Aysha – all three from Kerala, where Maktoob Media is based. Ladeeda’s husband, Shiyas Perumathura, is the secretary of the Students Islamic Organization (SIO), Kerala. Mumbai SIO chief Salman Ahmed has been arrested by Mumbai police for making a provocative statement during an anti-CAA rally in Nanded, Maharashtra.

Islamic Student Organization

The SIO was founded by Jamaat-e-Islami in 1982 after the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) split from it in 1981. A Livemint Report as of 2008 presents the relationship between the two organizations in this way: “They may be blood brothers, but the groups have charted contradictory paths, both in principle and in action. While SIMI is largely underground after government repression, SIO is a gradually growing student revolution, taking Islam beyond parodied stereotypes of fundamentalism and violence. Its mission: to prepare students, Muslims and non-Muslims, for the reconstruction of a peaceful India based on Islamic principles.

Regardless of what the report may say, those associated with SIO have clearly demonstrated that they also tend to gravitate towards violence. The mainstream media, through their ignorance, have given highly toxic individuals a free pass. Because of their inherent “secular” biases, reporters took questionable individuals at face value and made no effort to ask them tough questions. Even when their fanaticism was exposed, the media tried to give them the opportunity to exculpate themselves.

The Jamaat-e-Islami itself has an extremely checkered past. After the partition of the country, the organization split into independent organizations in the newly created states. He was described as having undergone an “ideological transformation” and reportedly abandoned his goal of turning India into an Islamic state. But given everything that has happened lately, we will have to come back to this question.

Pro-congress messages on Maktoob Media

Apart from spreading misinformation on social media platforms, the Islamist propaganda site also promoted the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi on social media sites. On its Facebook page, the Maktoob media published several advertisements concerning pro-Congress messages.

Here is an ad placed by Maktoob media promoting Rahul Gandhi. Facebook had published a paid ad from Maktoob in which it glorified Rahul Gandhi.

In another advertisement, Maktoob media had campaigned for Rahul Gandhi calling him the Prime Minister’s candidate.

Similarly, ahead of the 2019 election, Maktoob ran another paid ad on April 21, 2019, mocking Prime Minister Modi. In the announcement, Maktoob media referred to Prime Minister Modi as “Steal Jobs”, a popular meme that was also being shared simultaneously by the Congress party on social media platforms ahead of the 2019 elections.

From being a fan page for a former petty congressional leader to becoming an Islamist website spreading false narratives, Maktoob Media has come a long way.

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