Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Startup India? Govt of India's top projects "handled, propagated" on social media by rabid pro-Modi trolls

By Our Representative
Has the Government of India put its key projects at the disposal of rabid, allegedly saffron social media trolls, known to use abusive language at the drop of a hat as and when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is criticized? It would seem so, if what happened over the last 24 hours on Twitter is any guide.
Troll literally meaning ugly cave-dwelling creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf. Two of the trolls tweeted at two different places: “Indian army should be freed for one day to take care of pro-Pak #Presstitutes to make these #ProPakDovesSilent for eternity” and “Rakhi Sawant is more useful to this nation than Meera Sood”, tagging it to #ProPakDovesSilent.
The latter reference, apparently, is human rights advocate Mihira (not Meera) Sood, who, among many others, had signed a petition requesting the President of India to consider the mercy plea of terrorist Yakub Memon. She was present in a Times Now debate on Tuesday evening, where the hashtag #ProPakDovesSilent was floated.
So sooner the two tweet appeared, those responsible for propagating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top project, Startup Project on twitter, retweeted both the tweets, inviting the ire of well-known journalist Rohin Singh (‏@Rohinisgh_ET), senior editor, “Economic Times”, who said, “Shocking that government handle @startupindia is RTing trolls who are advocating violence against journalists!”
Among those who supported Singh was Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who, even as retweeting the shock expressed by another senior journalist Barkha Dutt of NDTV channel, said through Twitter, “All abuses and violence, whether online or offline, is emanating from topmost BJP leadership.”
Startup India deleted these retweets
Meanwhile, suspicion went wild that @startupindia is being handled by saffron brigade, using abusive language against anyone critical of Modi. Said @truthofgujarat, managed by Gujarat-based rights activist Pratik Sinha, Government of India @startupindia retweeting tweets asking for killing of journos… Bhakt forgot to change ID before retweeting.”
A popular site, janatakareporter.com, commented, “Modi has long been criticised for allegedly encouraging the nasty right-wing Twitter trolls by even following some of them on the microblogging site”, pointing towards how on Tuesday, in late hours, the government’s official Twitter handle @startupindia, retweeted “right-wing trolls.”
Calling Startup India a Modi brainchild, floated in January launched amidst much fanfare primarily to encourage entrepreneurship in the country, the site says, “The initiative is yet to deliver any tangible results, but it seems the official Twitter handle has been put to use to further the right-wing agenda of the ruling party.”
It adds, “Journalist Rohini Singh first posted the following tweet expressing her shock and horror on a central government’s official Twitter handle retweeting a political message posted by a troll.” In fact, @startupindia agreed with the comment which said that the Indian army should be “freed for one day” from “pro-Pakistani presstitutes”.
It continues, “#ProPakDovesSilent was the hashtag promoted by Times Now news channel while debating Kashmir unrest on Tuesday night. It was during this debate that a panelist had allegedly termed Indian army as rapist prompting right-wing users to post angry tweets.”
Finding things going out of hand, Startup India “corrected” its mistakes and removed the controversial tweets from its timeline. But the issue had already snowballed into a full-blown controversy, as social media users woke up to this development on Wednesday morning.

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