New Delhi: The BJP has taken its battle against protests of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to the virtual world. It released a video Wednesday accusing Instagram influencers and “urban Naxals” of spreading misinformation on the controversial legislation.
The video, posted on the party’s official Twitter handle, has two young women in conversation, attempting to dispel the “misconceptions” surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC.
CAA & NRC
A former protester explains what is really happening. pic.twitter.com/yEaP1A3sWi
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 25, 2019
It particularly singles out Instagram influencers, accusing them of opposing the legislation to appear “cool and woke” without having adequate knowledge of it. “Three to four types of people are opposing this. Insta celebrities are first among such people because they want to look cool and they also want something to discuss in their drawing rooms at a new year party,” one of the women says.
“Look at Instagram celebrities, they have done well in their fields. They have a lot of followers too,” the woman adds. “They have good knowledge about their respective fields but unfortunately, as far as this particular topic is concerned, they don’t have much knowledge and without reading, they are telling people half-truths and are misleading them.”
The conversation then shifts to “urban Naxals”, a term the BJP uses to target dissenters and one that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned in his Ramlila Maidan speech in New Delhi Sunday.
“Just look at the urban Naxals and take a look at their entire history,” one of the women says. “It is their job to spread chaos and anarchy and indulge in violence. And when scared people stop believing in the system then they take over the state.”
One of the women also asserts that the NRC will be restricted to just Assam as the conversation descends into the communal territory. One of the women says that people with “Islamist mentality” are out to destroy a democratic system.
The video also mentions stone pelting, torching of buses, and the damage to public property. “What they did to the police, stone pelting, shooting at them — was it right? It’s enough now, whenever we will get an opportunity we will answer them in a democratic way,” says one of the women.
An online battle
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees facing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, has led to widespread protests across the country.
It has also dominated the narrative on social media. The BJP video appears to be targeting Instagram and Tik Tok influencers who are racking up the numbers by opposing the Modi government on the issue.
The CAA hashtag on Tik Tok has over 80 million views and on Instagram, it has over one-and-a-half million posts.
The lead against the controversial legislation has been taken up by prominent Instagram influencers who have lakhs of followers, such as fashion blogger Komal Pandey, comedian-turned-actor Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh and Prajakta Koli.
And they are leaving a mark. Dolly Singh’s Instagram post mocking Modi’s “identify them by their clothes” has over 90k likes. The post contained a picture of her pet, Phoebe, with the caption: “Dear PM Modi, I don’t have a religion. Can I become a citizen?”
View this post on Instagram
Dear Mr. PM, I was born in India. On the very streets of India. But I got lost one night. Sadly because I'm so tiny, I don't know my religion. I also don't remember my mom much. I don't know if she wore a hijab or a bindi or neither. I do not have documents and considering I came from a poor family, I don't think my mom did either. Am I a citizen of India? Please answer me Mr. PM.
The post also drew flak from some who threatened to unfollow her.
Singh and Kapila had also joined the protests at ITO in Delhi at midnight, with both holding a placard that read: “It is so bad that even South Delhi is here.”
Apart from this, Rahat Indori’s ‘Kisi Ke Baap ka Hindustan Thore Hai‘ was trending on Tik Tok, a popular Chinese app that has 200 million registered users and 120 million months active users.
ThePrint tried to contact a few of these influencers for comment but did not get any reply. This report will be updated when they respond.