New Delhi: Amid reports of an impending Western military strike on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons, a fake Twitter account of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid caused a flutter Wednesday, saying India was in touch with Britain and US over the crisis.
The government complained to the San Francisco-headquartered company and the fake account was blocked within hours.
The imposter Twitter handle 'Salman Khurshid @IndiaMEA' complete with a picture of the external affairs minister, had the posts: "US SECRETARY OF STATE INFORMS OUR GOVERNMENT THAT AN ATTACK ON SYRIA WILL STARTS WITHING 48 HOURS".
Another one went:" Phone talks with British FM W.Hague. Intervention against Syria to start tonight. India expressed concerns."
Its first post went" "This is my official account on Twitter. Welcome! S. Khurshid, Minister of Ext. Relations, India." It also claimed the minister has spoken to the Russian foreign minister on the Syrian crisis.
Soon the Twitter account of India's external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin was flooded with queries asking if the news was true.
@AkbarMEA, the Twitter handle of the official spokesperson, replied to all queries saying: "The handle @IndiaMEA is a fake one masquerading as Minister Khurshid's account. He does not have a Twitter handle." And "@IndiaMEA is a fake account and has been reported to @Twitter."
Within a few hours, the imposter handle was blocked with the message "Sorry! That page does not exist!"
The fake posting caused All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, with Twitter account @asadowaisi, to ask @Akbar MEA: "sir I am sure the GOI is keeping an eye on Syrian crisis as more than 5 million Indians work in that region."
A discerning Twitter account posted: "Seems improbable that India's foreign minister wd spill military secrets divulged in a private phone call on Twitter".
Another account, going as Ranchordas @ControversyChat , posted sarcastically: "@IndiaMEA So now you have started giving breaking news to the world :)"