Hindutva trolls, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cells, are fervently endorsing Israel on social media through trending hashtags such as #IndiaStandsWithIsrael, #IStandWithIsrael, and #IsraeliLivesMatter
NEW DELHI — Even as Hamas continues to mount attacks on Israel and the Jewish state unleashes an unprecedented collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza, Hindutva supporters in India have taken to social media platforms portraying Hamas and other Palestinian factions as an evil force that must be vanquished.
Amid global expressions of solidarity with the Palestinians, there exists a disconcerting phenomenon: individuals patting the back of the Jewish state for its barbaric and inhuman all-out attacks on the Palestinians.
The reaction of the servile media and the right-wing fanatics to the explosive Middle East situation was predictable. Most of them were quick to cheer for Israel and put Indian Muslims in the dock over their apparent support for Palestinian fighters.
Along with hashtags and false information, the Hindutva troll army used the Middle East conflict as an opportunity to target the entire Muslim community. These trolls, often operating under the guise of ‘patriotism,’ have flooded social media with inflammatory and offensive posts targeting Muslims.
Hindutva trolls, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cells, have successfully orchestrated several online campaigns promoting hatred, particularly targeting Indian Muslims. These campaigns have involved the dissemination of misinformation, manipulated imagery, and falsified videos. Now, these same actors are fervently endorsing Israel on social media through trending hashtags such as #IndiaStandsWithIsrael, #IStandWithIsrael, and #IsraeliLivesMatter.
Staunch Hindutva protagonist Apurva Singh tweeted: Bharat stands with Israel”. Her account on the X platform has her photo with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath.
Dr. Prachi Sadhvi, national president of Hindutva outfit Bhagwa Kranti Sena and VHP leader, did not hide her glee at the atrocious Israeli cruelty on the Palestinians. She wrote: And it begins! Israel announces “Operation Iron Swords.”
Kashmiri Hindu organisation said, “India stands with Israel in its fight against this Jihad by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza.” It said Israel has every right to defend itself and eliminate every threat to its nationhood.
Swara Bhasker and Kangana Ranaut are among the first few Indian celebrities to react to the ongoing conflict. While Swara slammed those, who seemed ‘shocked’ at Hamas’ attacks, Kangana stood in solidarity with Israel.
Swara wrote on Instagram Stories: “If you have not felt shock and horror at Israel’s unending atrocities on Palestinians, the forcible occupation of Palestinian homes, the forced evictions, the bigotry and violence of settler Israelis, the murder of Palestinian children and teenagers, the decades-long blockade and bombing of Gaza and civilians in Gaza, including bombing of schools and hospitals (not to mention the apartheid and occupation), then I’m afraid your shock and horror at Hamas’ attacks on Israel seem a bit hypocritical.”
Earlier, Kangana Ranaut had shared on Instagram Stories that it was ‘impossible to scroll through social media and not get jolted, scarred, appalled or deeply disturbed’ looking at pictures of Israeli women being attacked by ‘terrorists’.
Noted journalist Suhasini Haidar commented on X platform (Formerly Twitter): “Sad to see the ruling party using the anguish and horror Israelis are facing today to score political points here in India. Terrorism, the deliberate targeting of civilians, and brutality is condemnable — to support victims, not to seek advantage,”
Comrade Sitaram Yechury lamented the “oppression of Palestine”. He called for the UN to enforce a halt to the violence and ensure the legitimate rights of Palestinians, including the withdrawal of Israeli settlements and the implementation of a two-nation state solution.
Sharjeel Usmani, known for his involvement in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), tweeted that it’s unsurprising that the Indian Hindu right wing supports Israel simply because it opposes what Indian Muslims support.
Prominent journalist Rana Ayyub said “The glee on Indian twitter at the prospective ‘pounding’ of civilians in Gaza is not a new achieved low. It is a sentiment that runs parallel to the hate they have successfully weaponised in their home country with sanction from the top”.
Hartosh Singh Bal, the editor of Caravan, accused the right-wingers of reacting to the Israel-Gaza tragedy with glee, insinuating that their motivations are to target Indian Muslims.
Aasif Mujtaba, the founder of an organisation that shelters Rohingya immigrants, labelled Israel a “terror nation” and claimed that Palestinians are subjected to daily humiliation.
Journalist Ali Sohrab backed the resistance offered by the Palestinians. He wrote in Hindi on X: “Palestinians know what technology Israel has, but there is no other way except resistance. They know that they may have to pay a heavy price for this, but there is no price for anyone’s dignity and respect, no price for a dignified existence.”