The previous month saw the advent of a huge global anti-India campaign post the Nupur Sharma controversy. Nupur’s alleged comment on Prophet in a live television debate show was her reaction to a Muslim panelist’s objectionable comments on Hindu beliefs. If something was said in the heat of the debate, an apology on the TV show would have settled the matter. It is also pertinent to note that Nupur Sharma quoted something which is written in Sunan an-Nasa’i 3378; Vol. 4, Book 26, Hadith 3380.
With the sole aim to escalate the comment to International levels with the aim to paint India as Islamophobic nation, Alt news co-founder and Social Media influencer Mohammad Zubair posted the short video clip of Nupur Sharma’s alleged remarks against Prophet on twitter. He purposely did not share the part of the debate wherein the Muslim panelist was insulting Hindu deities that instigated Nupur to make the reactive controversial comments.
Indians like Mohammad Zubair and Rana Ayyub act as the tip of spear to instigate and initiate anti-India propaganda. Aided by Pakistan’s state support. Inconsequential internal issues and trivial disputes are blown out of proportion on social media to bring-in global outrage to malign the country’s global image.
Zubair’s tweet began to get re-tweeted and was joined by the entire anti-India social media eco-system indulging in insult mongering and fanned the fire of hatred that led to consequent disharmony amongst communities and resulted in large scale protests, stone pelting and riots that consumed innocent lives.
The Protesters shouted slogans like, “Gustakh e Nabi ki ek hi saza, “Sar Tan Se Juda. Sar Tan Se Juda.” (loosly translating: “Those demeaning the prophet will be beheaded.”) Many Muslim nations called the Indian ambassadors and registered their strong protest. Social media was flooded with anti-India posts that included calls being made for the boycott of Indian goods.
Nupur Sharma withdrew her controversial statement and was expelled from the BJP. She claimed that her comments were a reaction to the continuous insult and disrespect to lord Shiva (Mahadev).
The controversy took an ugly turn as Abdul, Shoaib Khan and Mudassir Ahmed Sheikh Ibrahim and Shah Rukh Pathan Hidayat Khan beheaded Umesh Kolhe, a medical professional in Amaravati, Maharshtra. In a similar incident, Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad slayed tailor Kanhaiya Lal in broad daylight by slitting his throat. Both Umesh and Kanhaiya were mercilessly butchered because, they had shared posts on social media in support of Nupur Sharma.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari the shahi imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid issued a statement condemning the heinous murder. The killers of Kanhaiya and Umesh hid behind religion to justify their barbaric acts. Unless, every Imam and Mullah stand on the pulpit of every mosque in this country after the Friday prayers and denounce the killing, this is all seems as crocodile’s tears. None of the wannabe fanatics would be reading Bukhari’s English statement.
Here is what India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said about Nupur Sharma incident, “India’s image has been hit by this. But at the same time, there is a lot of misinformation being spread against India, which is far away from the reality. Perhaps in this situation, we should talk to them and reassure them.”
NSA Doval pointed toward the enemy’s campaign of spreading misinformation against India through social media as well as mainstream print and television media. There is a whole ecosystem of anti-India forces.
An Analysis of the War of Misinformation led by Anti-India Forces
Our analysis has revealed that more than a hundred anti-India hashtags that appeared in the top 10 in Twitter’s trends column across the Indian Subcontinent and Gulf countries during the previous months resulted from well thought-out toolkits, mostly originating from Pakistan. Pakistan’s social media army, collaborating with digital marketing companies, shared instigating tweet templates, used bots, multiple fake accounts and several influencers to post identical tweets to run anti-India hashtags.
Hashtags like #arrestnupursharma, #boycottindia, #Modi, #إلا_رسول_لله_یا_مودي, #prophetmuhammad, #Arab were made to trend in Pakistan. It was revealed that most of the tweets containing these trending hashtags were copy-pasted from templates. By hijacking the trending column with targeted hashtag campaigns that paint India as an anti-Muslim state, Pakistan gathered sympathies from the Gulf countries.
The first person to tweet using #boycottindianproducts hashtag was a fake tweeter user named @PresonerOnEarth with just 3 followers. All his tweets were in Urdu, suggesting that he be a person of Pakistani origin. He followed two digital marketing teams from Saudi Arabia, which were hired to organize a global anti-India campaign. There were no surprises here as maximum traction for #BoycottIndianProducts and #StopInsultingProphetMuhammad was coming from Pakistan.
Multan and Lahore were the epicenters for anti-India hashtags. Some of the top Pakistani Social Media influencers tweeted using UAE, Jeddah, Qatar, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia VPNs, joined by influencers from these countries trended hashtags like #FarmersProtest, #AllahuAkbar, #Islamofobia and #HijabRow in middle-eastern countries.
Through these trending hashtags, Pakistan is trying to instantly snowball the religious sentiments to influence the opinion of Islamic countries in their favour and against India.
Based on the scrutiny of data, it can be concluded the trending anti-India hashtags had clear Pakistani links. Bulk of the 46,069 twitter accounts investigated were found to be following pro-Pakistan propagandist twitter accounts with no or little followers.
This analysis is based on a total 1, 00,240 tweets from 46,069 social media profiles 955 new accounts and 93 verified twitter handles, spread in 29 countries and 40 languages that took part in the trends.
Come the Agnipath announcement, the enemy had a field day again
Rana Ayyub was joined by Ashok Swain, another India baiter to create an uproar against Agnipath recruitment scheme of the Indian Armed Forces and led the anti-India storm on social media.
@Foxia7sky, IamKamranhaider, @MJK_PK, SajjadAMallik and SyedUmarShah1: These are the top five social media profiles from Pakistan who started to post in support of the Agnipath protests, adding fuel to the fire. Analysis reveal that most of their posts are either retweets or copy-paste job from toolkits. Their followings is also common, starting from the PTI and Imran Khan to some prominent ISI faces.
Using communal politics as a weapon, Pakistan is weaponising hashtags on social media to instigate and influence the sentiments of Muslims all over the world against the Indian State. Besides them, some prominent Indian Social Media Influencers also play a major role in raking up issues with the sole aim of naming and shame the state.
Previous decade has seen India’s improved ties with the middle-eastern countries. Pakistan believes that India’s cordial relations with the Islamic countries are contrary to their interests. Diplomatically, almost all the UN member countries, barring China and Turkey, have distanced themselves from Pakistan because of its use of terror as state policy. To cover-up for its diplomatic failures, Pakistan is setting trends on social media to fix agendas and form world opinions.
These social media trends reveal that the moment India’s politics drifts toward communalism, enemies of the state can create a rift among the society and benefit from it. Pakistan’s enormous anti-India propaganda on mainstream media and social media through its extended arms in middle-east is denting India’s repute in these friendly nations.
The writer is a Veteran of the Indian Navy.