Skip to main content

Farmers' protest: When passengers in UP train accepted BJP's 'fake' conspiracy theories


By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*

As the farmers’ protest is all set to become more powerful and is looking for a long haul, BJP as well as its 'information network' have gone overboard in discrediting them. Whatever the ground realities, the fact is, social media trolls and disinformation have had their impact on large sections. Travelling in a train in Uttar Pradesh gives one some insight into what people seem think.
While being amidst the marginalised sections, I found no love lost for the government or BJP. However, I found people were quite sensitive about their communities and how they would be affected. This appears to have helped BJP. A large number of people who are now part of BJP, especially those from Dalit and OBC background, seem to have no love lost for the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.
However, their pragmatism and local caste equations appeared to be uppermost in their minds. Most of them felt that the current government was actually helping the Ambani and Adani. Yet, the narrative offered by Rahul Gandhi is still not acceptable. People still seemed to believe in the words being spread by the saffron brigade about Nehru, Indira and Sonia Gandhi.
Conversation with people revealed that whatever was being offered in the social media was still very much in the people’s minds, even if all of it was fake. In the train people were worried about the bandh and the possible delay of the train and other local services, one reason they said they won’t “side with the opposition.”
BJP's aim to project the protests as problem making that would lead to disturbances was, apparently, being accepted. “The problem is too much of democracy in India”, is what one of them remarked. “I hail from a kisan family in Haryana”, said another co-passenger, who was worried about whether he would be able to get his connection to Yamunanagar from Anand Vihar.
Another one remarked, “The problem is not with the farmers but whether Khalistanis, Canadians, JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University)  people and Communists who have joined hand, which is wrong. What is more worrying is that Muslims too have now infiltrated in it, and it has now become anti-national,”
A third person jumped into the discussion. 
BJP's aim to project the protests as problem making that would lead to disturbances was, apparently, being accepted
“Are these poor farmers?”, he asked. “They are drinking Bisleri water, good food is being served to them, they have dry fruits available for them. Where is the money coming from?” The narrative was clear: Farmers might be fighting for their rights, but why were Communists, JNU wallahs, Canadians, Khalistani joining them? And as Muslims had also joined them, it has become a 'security' threat!
I was not amused. Without quarreling with them, I asked, “But Modi ji has been helping Ambani and Adani only. Food prices have gone up, unemployment is high, and there are many issues confronting the nation, yet this government only thinks about Hindus, Muslims, India, Pakistan, Ram Janmabhoomi, etc.”
There was silence for a while, but most of the passengers seemed to accept what I said. “You are right”, one of them asserted. “What has the government done for the people?”, wondered another. “It is time for the government to speak to people and listen to their concerns.”
But, in the end, all of them insisted, commuters should not suffer during the bandh. This despite the fact that it was common knowledge, the bandh was for not for the whole day; it was from 10 am to 3 pm.
There is reason to conclude: The way BJP IT cell has been operating and carrying on campaign against the ongoing agitation suggests that the party appears to feel that by bringing in conspiracy theories it can discredit the movement and polarise it. Indeed, the BJP troll army has sought to vilify the movement as anti- national by insisting it has the support of the minority groups, left parties, student leaders and international organisations.
Indeed, BJP’s social media campaign has worked in creating fake narratives. Large sections of people still don’t seem to understand that farmers know about their issues much better than those making laws for them. They still don’t seem to appreciate the fact that farmers will not put any harm to the country, or that by handing over the big farming sector, only cronies will flourish.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.