"I Am a Troll" Exposes Indian BJP's Vicious Attack Machine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows hundreds of twitter accounts regularly tweeting abuses and threats of rape and other forms of physical violence against Indian actors, artists, politicians, journalists, minorities in India and individuals of Pakistani origin, according to Swati Chaturvedi, author of "I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of BJP's Digital Army".

Swati Chaturvedi

Swati Chaturvedi is an Indian journalist who found herself targeted by ruling BJP's highly organized professional troll operation directed from a location, called National Digital Operations Center (NDOC), in New Delhi, India. NDOC is staffed by paid workers as well as volunteers. Many of the volunteers are well-educated non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the United States and other parts of the world.

Threats Against Chaturvedi:

BJP trolls have spread lies about Chaturvedi being a "nymphomaniac" and threatened her with "Nirbhaya-style rape or an AK-47 bullet" to get her to shut up. Each morning she woke up to "hundreds of notifications discussing my "rate"". She says "her mornings were filled with rage and a sick, slightly nauseous feelings. The attacks were personal and I had had enough." She said she filed a criminal complaint under sections of Indian Penal Code dealing with "stalking, sexual harassment, transmitting obscene material over the Internet."  Twitter suspended the account and provided the IP address of the offender. But there was no action by Delhi Police.

Disinformation Campaign:

The BJP has extensively used social media apps to spread rumors, innuendo,  fake news, outright lies and various forms of disinformation against anyone seen to be even mildly critical of their leader Narendra Modi. Their harshest abuse has been targeted at the Opposition Congress party leaders, various liberal individuals and groups, Muslims and Pakistanis.

Chaturvedi cites many instances of hateful tweets from Modi-loving Hindu trolls, including Singer Abhijeet's lies to generate hatred against Muslims and Pakistan and BJP MP Hukum Singh's false claim of "Hindu exodus" from Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh blaming it on Muslims.

Kashmir and Pakistan:

Some of Twitter handles followed by Modi, including the account of BJP leader Giriraj Singh, routinely tell the BJP government critics to "go to Pakistan".

Chaturvedi talks about the use of graphic images of cow slaughter from Bangladesh and Pakistan being passed off with audio suppressed by BJP trolls as occurring in India as part of their campaign to stir up trouble against Indian Muslims.

Chaturvedi writes about "open gloating on Twitter at the pellet blindings in Kashmir during the protests that followed Burhan Wani's death. This was accompanied by calls on social media for the mass murder of Kashmiris. One Twitter handle @ggiittiikkaa with 80,000 followers--including Prime Minister Modi--tweeted pictures of Wani's funeral procession and added 20K attended funeral of terrorist Burhan. Should have dropped a bomb and given permanent Azadi to these 20K pigs". 

Modi Encourages Hate:

Prime Minister Modi has 21.6 million followers on Twitter and he follows 1375 people, according to Swati. Among the handles followed by Modi, there are at least twenty six accounts that "routinely sexually harass, make death threats and abuse politicians from other parties and journalists, with special attention given to women, minorities and Dalits. Describing themselves as "proud Hindu", "Garvit Hindu", "desh bhakt", "Namo Bhakt", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", and "Vande Matram", these users are loud and proud, inevitably have a display picture with Mr. Modi and proclaim to be "blessed to be followed by the Prime Minister of India".

Sadhvi Khosla:

Among the key sources of Chaturvedi's research is Sadhvi Khosla who has direct experience as an ex volunteer at BJP's NDOC in New Delhi. Khosla volunteered at NDOC for two years. She began her stint before the elections in 2014 and left in late 2015.

Khosla told The Caravan magazine that "there was continuous hate directed at minorities, some journalists, and anyone else who has opposing views. When the head of the NDOC (Arvind Gupta) sends me direct WhatsApp messages saying, sign the petition to remove Aamir Khan from the Snapdeal campaign, what does that mean? When the head sends you messages with hashtags for the day and targets for the day, what does it mean? No one is forcing me to do work, but it means that the heads of these organizations are endorsing such views. To me, it becomes the official line."

Social Media, Fakes News and Disinformation Campaign:

The US intelligence report released after the November 2016 elections indicates that BJP-like tactics were used by the Russians in the 2016 US elections to help the Trump campaign. Ranjit Goswami, Vice Chancellor of RK University in the Indian state of Gujarat, explained this phenomenon in a piece titled "India has been post-truth for years" wrote about it as follows: "As the US (with Trump's election) and UK (Brexit) wake up to this new era, it’s worth noting that the world’s largest democracy has been living in a post-truth world for years'.

Summary:

Social media are rapidly changing the communications landscape of the world. Everyone, including politicians, bigots, demagogues and ordinary citizens, has its own megaphones to spread whatever message they like: love, hate, anger, lies, peace, violence, etc.  These messages become much more potent and powerful when done in an organized fashion such as the BJP's professional troll operation or the Russian intelligence's information ops. It's important to acknowledge the power of the social media and find ways to make it a force for good.

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India's Pakistan Obsession

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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 3, 2017 at 8:09am

(Indian MP) Mr Derek O'Brien had, on Thursday, raised the subject of Twitter trolls and their alleged connection to the ruling BJP, and said some of them were invited to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's house for a "nice social digital party."

He said, "Twenty six Twitter handles that give out rape threats, communal threats are followed by the Prime Minister of India. 26. Two of these handles have been suspended by Twitter. Now this is not Trinamool or Congress or CPM or DMK, this is an international company called Twitter."

The opposition lawmaker went on to name some of the handles that he said had been suspended by Twitter - @Bhak_sala, used by Rahul Raj, and Mahiviram.

"Where are we headed, sir? And these twitter trolls, they are paid handles. And they are invited and this is not some private thing, they are public information, it is even published now in a book. They are invited now to the Prime Minister's house for a nice social digital media party," he charged, referring to a party that the Prime Minister hosted two years ago for 150 "social media influencers" and allegations that the list included notorious "trolls".

Smriti Irani didn't name anyone but did draw a "thank you" on Twitter.

"Thanks a lot @smritiirani ma'am. Thanks a lot. You spoke for the millions of commoners like me," tweeted Rahul Raj.


http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-invited-trolls-how-smriti-irani-r...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 3, 2017 at 8:30am

Except from DailyO: 

O’Brien’s strongest criticism was reserved for Modi’s government’s “Digital India”, which the TMC MP said was basically a euphemism for “divisive India”. He named a couple of the 26 Twitter handles which have been known to send out extremely serious threats on social media, including rape threats to women journalists and propagating hate speech, but which are still followed by PM Narendra Modi.

Social media abuse is a strategy that is actively devised and followed by the ruling regime and its expansive dominion of online warriors, who intimidate, threaten and abuse to silence criticism from liberal sections of media, public sphere as well as the celebrities. O’ Brien mentioned the Aamir Khan-Snapdeal case as an example of how superstars are hounded for airing their grievances, while others are targeted and beaten up in the real world for reimagining history.


Derek o'Brien quoting @bhak_sala and @MahaveerM_ in his speech. Source Binjal book. Even @sureshnakhua Aamir Khan incident has been quoted

O’Brien also mentioned how the Rail Budget has been consigned to a terribly trivial status by merging it with the main Budget, which gives the government has opportunity to simply hide behind a few announcements and begin the shrinking of the world’s largest railway network. He mentioned how freight revenue has fallen, and how the Vision 20-20 document for Indian Railways, that had inputs from a number of former railway ministers, is now a distant dream, because of this government’s complete neglect of the railways.

In sum, O’Brien’s speech was a powerful intervention at a time when the election rhetoric is overriding every other form of resistance to the Modi government’s divisive agenda, and any opposition is simply being paraded, even by the media, as blasé opportunism. That is not correct at all.

As Derek O’ Brien appealed to all, it’s time to stand up and make our presence felt in a forceful manner. Because after Dalits, daily-wage workers, Muslims, farmers, there won’t be anyone left to speak up when the liberal elites too are targeted as inhumanly.

As a woman journalist who deals with the worst sort of harassment on Twitter on a daily basis I am so glad @quizderek has raised this issue https://twitter.com/rohinisgh_et/status/827349490679967749 

Must watch. The striking thing was the entire house heard. My book "I am a troll" inside the Bjp's secret Army" quoted! https://twitter.com/quizderek/status/827146461552992256 

Nice of Smriti Irani to stand up in Parliament for private citizen @bhak_sala, whom Derek O'Brien had wrongly and needlessly attacked in RS

http://www.dailyo.in/variety/derek-o-brien-ripped-apart-photo-mantr...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 9, 2017 at 7:27pm

Analysis: #India, #Pakistan in race to destroy young minds with false #history #textbooks
http://www.dawn.com/news/1313938/analysis-india-pakistan-in-race-to...

Consider the latest attempt at subversion from India. According to reports on Thursday, ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled (BJP) Rajasthan state have proposed that the outcome should be rewritten in the mediaeval battle of Haldighati that was fought between the forces of Mughal emperor Akbar and Rajput chieftain Rana Pratap.

It ended in a stalemate with the latter retreating deeper into Mewar, but Hindutva historians are determined to show him as the clear victor.

It is less widely admitted that his Rajput General Mansingh led Akbar’s 1576 campaign.

If Hindutva historians have their way they would project even Alexander of Macedonia as an anti-India Muslim marauder.

Cinematic versions of Alexander’s war with King Porus have already attempted this in a way, showing the foreigner speaking in Urdu, implying a Muslim language, while the vanquished Indian ruler spoke chaste Hindi, erroneously projected as a Hindu language.

It would be equally embarrassing for Hindutva historians to admit that Maratha king Shivaji communicated with his arch-foe Emperor Aurangzeb in Persian while conducting his Maratha empire’s administration in Modhi, a less discussed precursor of Marathi.

It is routine among Hindutva historians to claim mediaeval monuments as Hindu structures grabbed by Muslims. According to P.N. Oak, an early myth-maker in this genre, Taj Mahal was a Hindu palace as was the Asafi Imambarha of Lucknow.

According to Oak, Christianity is Chrisn-nity, an ascription to Lord Krishna. “Christianity is in fact a popular variation of the Hindu, Sanscrit [sic] term Chrisn-neety, i.e. the way of life preached, advocated or exemplified by the Hindu incarnation Lord Chrisn, spelled variously as Crsn, Krsn, Krishn, Chrisn, Crisna or Krisna also,” Mr Oak wrote.

To keep the spirit from flagging, even Wagner’s theory of continental drift was harnessed to claim that light-skinned Indians originally came from the border of Bihar and Orissa.

Later, the border drifted away to form the North Pole, thus implying that Caucasian and Central Asian genes travelled from India to their current abode, not the other way round.

As in India, rigging the chronology of history has been honed into a craft in Pakistan too, and it is difficult to say who between the two is better in conjuring myths that exhort young minds to violence.

A recent study in Pakistan found that the country’s public school textbooks negatively portrayed religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, as “untrustworthy, religiously inferior, and ideologically scheming”.

The report, “Teaching Intolerance in Pakistan: Religious Bias in Public School Textbooks”, analysed 78 textbooks from all four provinces covering grades five through 10.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 1, 2017 at 8:07pm

Dark side of Army’s social media groups
Ali Ahmed, retired Indian Army officer

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/dark-side-of-army-s-social...


While earlier, politics was a taboo subject in officers' messes, and perhaps continues to be so, reservation on espousing a political line failed to extend to regulating the social media behaviour of members of the armed forces. The enthusiasm for the conservative party's victory is explicable as it is in keeping with the universal political inclination of an officer corps; the attractions of the allusion to development; its anti-corruption packaging; and the BJP’s largely pro-security agenda. 
The problem is that the ideological baggage that attends the politics of the BJP — Hindutva — was part of the package. One popular propaganda line that was seemingly heartily consumed — judging from its traffic on the social media group — was the conflation of the two “others” in the Hindutva worldview, the Indian Muslim with Pakistan. 
This was easy to sell since a majority of the military has been through Kashmir and has seen the Pakistani hand at play. Exposed to the media attention to the terror attacks in the hinterland, that seldom went beyond the reporting on the blasts to the investigations that have attended these blasts, the theme of a strong government was easily sold. Lately, the letting off by courts of Muslims incarcerated for alleged complicity in the blasts suggests that India was well into the post-truth age before the term was coined. 
Any collateral damage in terms of marginalisation of the minority and social relationships was found acceptable. The distasteful experience of this writer on social media chatter on Army groups led to his withdrawing from the three social media groups comprising his military cohort and former comrades. It was not so much on account of religious affiliation but constraints on expression of a liberal worldview encountered. 
The military leadership needs alerting to this unseemly underside of social media. The military's social media policy is a work-in-progress. It needs updating with stipulations on the content that is exchanged. While self-regulation is best, it has proven insufficient. This has implications for the freedom of expression intrinsic to social media. A case can be made that those who do not wish to receive such posts can opt to leave. The problem with this line of reasoning is that it divides the officer corps, leaving the turf to the cultural nationalists in uniform, for whom patriotism is just not enough. The Army’s social media policy has further steps to take. It needs to be possessive of its social turf. Its cohesion and apolitical nature is at stake. 

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 9, 2017 at 10:39am

FACEBOOK MAY HAVE MORE RUSSIAN TROLL FARMS TO WORRY ABOUT

https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-may-have-more-russian-troll-fa...

WHEN IT COMES to Russian propaganda, things are seldom what they seem. Consider the case of the Internet Research Agency.
The shadowy St. Petersburg-based online-influence operation came under fresh scrutiny this week after Facebook disclosed that entities linked to Russia had placed some 5,000 phony political ads on its platform during the 2016 election cycle. The IRA, which was the subject of a 2015 New York Times Magazine investigation, may have been behind many of the bogus Facebook ads, the company says.
Of course, things aren’t as simple as that. Russian corporate records indicate Internet Research Agency has been inactive since December 2016. But that doesn’t mean that Russians no longer engage in such activity. According to Russia researchers at the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress, there’s reason to believe the Internet Research Agency is operating under a new name: Glavset.
A Russian tax filing reveals that Glavset, which launched in February 2015, operates out of the same office building—55 Savushkin Street in St. Petersburg—that once housed the Internet Research Agency. The filing lists Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, former head of the Internet Research Agency, as its general director.
These ties undermine the idea that IRA is no longer a threat, says Diana Pilipenko, principal investigator on CAP’s Moscow Project. “It’s there," she says. "It’s alive and well and operating.”

Glavset’s ties to IRA have been reported in Russian media. Russian outlets have been following so-called troll farms, businesses that create fake social-media accounts to spread propaganda, since 2015, when an undercover mole documented an account of her time working for IRA in a Russian newspaper. Those ties are less well known in the US.
It’s not clear whether Glavset purchased political ads on Facebook, or any other platform. A Facebook spokesman could not immediately say whether Facebook uncovered any ads placed by Glavset in the investigation it revealed Wednesday. That probe found 470 inauthentic pages and accounts affiliated with Internet Research Agency; Facebook turned that information over to special counsel Robert Mueller

Pilipenko says establishing the connection between IRA and Glavset—and identifying other entities connected to IRA—is crucial to understanding the scope of Russian propaganda efforts on Facebook and other social-media platforms.
"If Facebook has only identified ads purchased by one of these companies, there needs to be an immediate investigation into activity by everything in this 'Kremlebot' empire," Pilipenko says. "This may just be the tip of the iceberg."

Investigators probing Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election are asking similar questions, of Facebook and other internet companies. On Thursday, Democratic Senator Mark Warner called on Twitter to share what it knows about Russian entities purchasing ads on its platform. Twitter did not answer WIRED’s request for comment. Meanwhile, Google said it has found “no evidence this type of ad campaign was run” on its platform. Finding this evidence, of course, requires knowing what to look for. As recently as July, Facebook was saying the same thing.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 31, 2017 at 4:41pm

Russian-Backed Facebook Accounts Staged Events Around Divisive Issues
They publicized or financed at least 60 events—on all sides of most polarizing issues—before and after the 2016 election

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-backed-facebook-accounts-organ...

Workers behind Russian-linked Facebook Inc. FB 0.11% accounts helped organize or finance real-life events before and after the 2016 election, often working directly with U.S. activists and playing both sides of the same hot-button issue—even on the same day.

In July 2016, as outrage swelled over fatal shootings in Dallas and Minneapolis, alleged social-media agitators tied to Russia worked quickly to capitalize on the emotionally charged atmosphere.

Workers linked to a Russia-based firm organized two gatherings, both for July 10: In Dallas, a “Blue Lives Matter” rally honored the five police officers slain there on July 7; and near Minneapolis, nearly 300 people rallied in support of Philando Castile, a man fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop.

The events show that the Russian-linked account activity went far beyond paying for polarizing ads dropped into Facebook members’ news feeds. At least 60 rallies, protests and marches were publicized or financed by eight Russia-backed Facebook accounts from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., according to a review by The Wall Street Journal, which looked at archived versions of now-deleted Facebook posts and interviewed activists, attendees and others familiar with the events, most of which were posted on Facebook.

Facebook said in September that it had found 470 such accounts that it says belonged to Russians and that sought to exploit social divisions in the U.S. through provocative issue ads. The eight accounts the Journal examined are among those Facebook unearthed, according to people familiar with the matter. Facebook said it closed the accounts.

Much of the scrutiny of the Russian accounts so far has focused on their online activity, but the live events demonstrate how the alleged use of social media by Russian forces served as a launchpad for deeper infiltration into the American democratic process. Many rallies were sparsely attended, but some attracted news coverage, helping the accounts seem legitimate, add followers and enlist activists to plan future events.

People representing “Black Matters US,” one of the Russia-backed accounts, pressured Los Angeles activist Nolan Hack to plan events that would raise the account’s visibility. “They’d say, we need to continue to up the protest numbers. We need to continue to get more people to know about us,” Mr. Hack said. “I would say—who cares about that? We’re not trying to win a reality show here.”

At least 22 of the 60 events actually took place, such as a May 2016 protest of an Islamic center in Houston planned by “Heart of Texas”, a Russia-created page that supported Texas secession and posted the “Blue Lives Matter” rally in Dallas two months later. On June 25, 2016, following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla, “LGBT United” organized a candlelight vigil, where one of the victim’s brothers spoke. Both were covered by local media and attracted a dozen or more attendees.

-----------

Representatives from the Facebook page “United Muslims of America” asked Mike Ghouse, an interfaith activist, to speak at a Sept. 3, 2016 event in Washington, D.C. billed as “a peaceful rally, to make mosques and their neighborhood safe!”

The group sent Mr. Ghouse placards they intended to use that included anti-Trump messages, causing him to back out, he said. “I said they should be more pluralistic, more inclusive because there’s no need to attack Trump,” Mr. Ghouse said. “They wouldn’t, so I didn’t go.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2017 at 5:37pm

Do #socialmedia threaten #democracy? - Scandal, outrage and politics. #Trump #RussiaGate


https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21730871-facebook-google-and...

IN 1962 a British political scientist, Bernard Crick, published “In Defence of Politics”. He argued that the art of political horse-trading, far from being shabby, lets people of different beliefs live together in a peaceful, thriving society. In a liberal democracy, nobody gets exactly what he wants, but everyone broadly has the freedom to lead the life he chooses. However, without decent information, civility and conciliation, societies resolve their differences by resorting to coercion.

How Crick would have been dismayed by the falsehood and partisanship on display in this week’s Senate committee hearings in Washington. Not long ago social media held out the promise of a more enlightened politics, as accurate information and effortless communication helped good people drive out corruption, bigotry and lies. Yet Facebook acknowledged that before and after last year’s American election, between January 2015 and August this year, 146m users may have seen Russian misinformation on its platform. Google’s YouTube admitted to 1,108 Russian-linked videos and Twitter to 36,746 accounts. Far from bringing enlightenment, social media have been spreading poison.

Russia’s trouble-making is only the start. From South Africa to Spain, politics is getting uglier. Part of the reason is that, by spreading untruth and outrage, corroding voters’ judgment and aggravating partisanship, social media erode the conditions for the horse-trading that Crick thought fosters liberty.

A shorter attention spa...oh, look at that!
The use of social media does not cause division so much as amplify it. The financial crisis of 2007-08 stoked popular anger at a wealthy elite that had left everyone else behind. The culture wars have split voters by identity rather than class. Nor are social media alone in their power to polarise—just look at cable TV and talk radio. But, whereas Fox News is familiar, social-media platforms are new and still poorly understood. And, because of how they work, they wield extraordinary influence.

They make their money by putting photos, personal posts, news stories and ads in front of you. Because they can measure how you react, they know just how to get under your skin (see article). They collect data about you in order to have algorithms to determine what will catch your eye, in an “attention economy” that keeps users scrolling, clicking and sharing—again and again and again. Anyone setting out to shape opinion can produce dozens of ads, analyse them and see which is hardest to resist. The result is compelling: one study found that users in rich countries touch their phones 2,600 times a day.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 4, 2017 at 5:44pm

#Apple CEO Tim Cook says #socialmedia is being used to manipulate and divide us. #Trump #RussiaGate https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/1/16595596/apple-ceo-tim-cook-fake... … via @Verge

“I don’t believe the big issue are ads from foreign governments. I believe that’s like .1 percent of the issue,” Cook says. “The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers so as to influence their thinking. This to me is the No. 1 through 10 issue.”

Following a second day of Capitol Hill testimony from members of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, Congress has taken an increasingly aggressive and adversarial stance on Silicon Valley’s ability to reign in the abuse of its products and keep them free of bad actors and foreign governments. In the past couple of months, it’s been revealed that Russia-linked advertising was prevalent in Google search and YouTube ads, as well on both Facebook and Twitter’s ad platforms. And in the past week, following the disclosure of new reports from all three tech companies, we know these ads reached many more users than previously thought, in some cases having more than 10 times the initial reported impact.

Cook addressed the congressional hearings, saying that the social media companies have “learned along the way a lot,” and that “we'll probably learn more in those hearings as to the particulars.” He went on to say that just as all New York companies aren’t all the same — and all media companies aren’t the same — well, all technology companies aren’t the same, either. They have different values, different principles, different business models.”

Those business models include compiling volumes of user data, something that Cook reasserted isn’t something that Apple is interested in. “We take a very pro-privacy view,” Cook says. “Apple doesn’t know what the content of your messages are. We encrypt FaceTime end to end. We don’t know what you’re saying.” Holt brought up that the company’s upcoming iPhone X raises privacy concerns with its FaceID system. Cook explained that the facial recognition data is stored on the phone and encrypted, and that “Apple doesn’t have that: your device has that.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 15, 2018 at 10:37am

#India's 'internet #Hindus' are in love with #Israel. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #NetanyahuInIndia - Israel News - http://Haaretz.com

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903


Hindu nationalists incessantly tweet their support and admiration for Israel, an online force that helped push Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a landslide victory in 2014

Saudamini Jain Jan 15, 2018 4:14 PM
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903



In New Delhi, Anshul Saxena spends three to four hours a day on Israel.

The 26-year-old gathers information from right-wing websites, blogs, Wikipedia, the American Jewish Committee website and India-Israel friendship forums. He has set up alerts to be notified of any India-Israel news, and tries to tweet about Israel every day.


>> The Indian Jews at the Heart of the Netanyahu-Modi Love Affair

skip - Netanyahu arrival
Back in November, he announced a celebration party when he first heard that Netanyahu would be visiting. Sometimes, the tweets are about Israel in general and the lessons India can learn from it.

A few months earlier, in July, he wrote: “Israel revived its Hebrew, whose fate was similar to Sanskrit about 7 decades ago. India should learn from Israel, We can revive Sanskrit.”

skip - Hebrew/Sanskrit
>>Netanyahu's India agenda: Business, ceremonies and a little Bollywood


Other times, he’s inspired by the news. Last month, he wrote, comparing Jerusalem to the northern Indian city where a 16th-century mosque was demolished by right-wing Hindu mobs 25 years ago: “India should shift embassy from Tel Aviv to #Jerusalem. And also recognize that Temple Mount belongs to the only Jewish people. What Ayodhya Ram Mandir to Hindus, same Temple Mount to Jews.”

skip - Jerusalem/Adhoya
The goal is to convince Indians that Israel is their country’s best friend. Saxena has nearly 70,000 followers (and won about 5,000 new followers within six hours of Netanyahu’s arrival on Sunday.) He is one of the 1,861 accounts followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

His tweet about Hebrew inspiring a revival of Sanskrit has been retweeted 1,275 times and liked 1,982 times. The ones about Netanyahu have been retweeted a few hundred times.

Saxena drafts his tweets on a Word document – sometimes hundreds on a given theme. “The first thing I try is to make them informative and not controversial or humorous,” he says. Then he forwards them to his friends – his “core team” of 50 people. On a group chat, they write their views and choose hashtags.


Anshul Saxena at a pro-Israel event he organized on a south Delhi street corner, where he handed out local dishes to passersby, January 2018.Manu Misra
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“There are groups on Twitter, WhatsApp, social media .... Each person has 500 to 1,000 people, some are in 100 to 200 groups,” he says. “They’re all pro-Israeli as well. So ... it keeps getting forwarded and circulated on social media.”


In the summer of 2015, when Modi announced plans to visit Israel, tens of thousands of people (both Israelis and Indians – largely Hindus – in India and the diaspora) celebrated India-Israel brotherhood, and condemned the Palestinians, Pakistanis and Muslims in general. There were flags, quotes and memes. #IndiaWithIsrael trended a second time within a few days when India abstained from a July vote against Israel at the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR.

Over the next two years, Saxena campaigned for #WorstIranDeal (“Iran Nuclear Deal is not only Threat to our friend @Israel but for the whole World, he tweeted), and #IndiaAgainstPalestinianTerror (“I started it in the evening, but it failed, so I started again the next day, only then did it become successful”).

read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 25, 2018 at 10:01am

#BJP #Hindutva trolls attack #India FM #SushmaSwaraj for intervening on behalf a #Hindu-#Muslim #interfaith couple to issue a passport that was illegally denied by a right wing Hindu employee

https://thewire.in/gender/sushma-swaraj-right-wing-twitter-trolling

Swaraj experienced what women on Twitter have to deal with on a daily basis – death and rape threats, threatening messages which are often sexual in nature.

Sushma Swaraj, one of the ruling government’s most loved ministers, found herself on the receiving end of troll firing quad on social media after she pulled up a passport office employee for harassing an inter-faith couple.

In a series of tweets to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj last week, Tanvi Seth had complained that one of the officials who interviewed her did not approve her application and verbally lashed out at her for marrying a Muslim and not changing her name. Her husband said that the ministry of external affairs (MEA) employee also asked him to convert for their marriage to be ‘accepted’.

A day later, the MEA handed over their passports and promised “appropriate action” against the employee concerned.

A day after Tanvi spoke to the media, the passport officer, identified as Vikas Mishra, held a press conference to share his side of the story. “I asked Tanvi Seth to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed as it was mentioned on her Nikahnama [Muslim marriage contract], but she refused. We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing their name to obtain a [false or duplicate] passport,” he told Asian News International (ANI).

The passport officer’s statement angered the right wing Twitterati who felt that the minister had acted impulsively in an attempt to appease minorities.

--------------------


In his speech, the UN human rights chief specifically mentioned the case of two Indian woman journalist, one of whom was assassinated in 2017 in Bengalooru. “In India, Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who published criticism of Hindu extremism, was killed last year following widespread online calls for violence against her; and her colleague Rana Ayyub has been subjected to thousands of hate-filled messages, including calls for her to be gang-raped and murdered, with dissemination of her phone number and home address”.

Even as external affairs minister’s account was being targeted with online vitriol, the Indian statement said at the discussion that “India has taken various steps to address cases of online violence against women”.

India even claimed that it was simpler now to remove abusive material from the internet.

“A Central Reporting Mechanism is being created to work as a hotline for easier reporting of any cyber crime. The process for removing objectionable imagery from the digital space is also made easier. Increased awareness is being promoted among public and authorities on better prevention and redressal,” it said.

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    India's Economy Grew Only 0.2% Annually in the Last Two Years

    The Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier. The average GDP growth in India over the last two years has averaged just 0.2% per year. The news appears to indicate strong recovery after a big economic hit suffered from the COVID pandemic since early 2020.  Pakistan's economy fared relatively better during the pandemic. Pakistan's GDP rose 0.5% in 2020 and 3.9% in 2021.…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on December 5, 2021 at 12:30pm — 8 Comments

    India's Economy Grew Only 0.2% Annually in the Last Two Years

    The Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier. The news appears to indicate strong recovery after a big economic hit suffered from the COVID pandemic since early 2020.  Pakistan's economy fared relatively better during the pandemic. Pakistan's GDP rose 0.5% in 2020 and 3.9% in 2021. As a result, Pakistan now fares better than India on multiple indices including…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on December 5, 2021 at 12:30pm

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