A social media storm has been brewing following the raids by the Pune police in many states on Tuesday, where they arrested poets, writers and activists, accusing them of being “Maoist sympathisers”.
The police raided homes of Varaara Rao and Kranthi Tekula in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira in Mumbai, Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swami in Chhattisgarh, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi and Anand Teltumbde in Goa.
Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj have been detained by the police.
Many people have said on social media that this is merely a way to curb and discourage dissent. Meanwhile, film director and author Vivek Agnihotri asked some “bright young minds” to put together a list of those defending “Urban Naxals”.
I want some bright young people to make a list of all those who are defending #UrbanNaxals Let’s see where it leads. If you want to volunteer with commitment, pl DM me. @squintneon would you like to take the lead?
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) August 28, 2018
Several social media users slammed Vivek’s tweet and argued that terms like “Urban Naxal” and others were simply used by a section of the media and people to malign those who have an anti-establishment stance. Others accused him of openly inciting hate.
Check out some of the tweets in response to Vivek below:
'Urban Naxal', 'Half Maoist', 'Love jehad', 'Free Sex', 'Tukde Tukde Gang' – just some of the nonsense phrases used to smear activists, intellectuals and basically anyone defending rights of people under attack from the Modi Govt!
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) August 28, 2018
Openly inciting hatred, witch-hunt on social media. Mob lynching from the streets to mob lynching on the internet, Modi's army of clowns have come a long way.
— Prerna Bakshi (@bprerna) August 29, 2018
Soon, the hashtag “Me Too Urban Naxal” started trending, with people ridiculing Vivek’s call to make a list. They argued that if debating and dissenting meant that they are ‘Urban Naxals’, so be it.
Hey @vivekagnihotri, I volunteer to be on your list. Let's tag @vivekagnihotri with the hashtag #MeTooUrbanNaxal and help him build his list. We should all help this man in his noble endeavour. https://t.co/zY1Azarv8l
— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) August 29, 2018
How's that list going? Have enough? If not, put my name on it #MeTooUrbanNaxal
— Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) August 29, 2018