Updated: September 7, 2017 9:25:50 pm
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to draw flak for following online trolls on Twitter who expressed happiness over the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, the BJP on Thursday called the controversy surrounding the prime minister ‘mischievous and contorted controversy.’
The official twitter handle of BJP released a statement by Amit Malviya, who is the National Head – Information & Technology for the party that said, “PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person and is not in anyway a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself.” It also stressed on how PM Modi uses the platform to engage with normal people and that he is a “rare leader who truly believes in freedom of speech and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone.”
Taking a dig at Opposition, the statement adds, “PM also follows Rahul Gandhi, who is accused in loot and fraud. PM also follows Arvind Kejriwal, who abused him on Twitter and told a woman ‘settle kar lo’ when she complained a party member molesting her.” Incidentally, Amit Malviya is the same person who had tweeted about the defamation case in whih Lankesh was convicted, asking “other journalists to take note.”
Prahlad Joshi, BJP MP from Dharwad, gets Gouri Lankesh convicted in a defamation case. https://t.co/6DQTYDY1rO Hope other journos take note.
— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 29, 2016
Calling the response sinister, Divya Spandana, AICC digital media head said, “(this)exposed the fanatical and dangerous agenda of the BJP Govt and the party. May we remind PM Modi and BJP that it is this very thought that led to assassination of Mahatama Gandhi by Godse with RSS distributing sweets and celebrating the murder of ‘Father of the Nation’. And don’t forget that it is for this very reason that Sardar Patel, India’s Home Minister, banned the RSS. Same culture of hate, abuse, division and murder is being propagated today. On behalf of all our countrymen, we assure the hate mongers that they failed yesterday and they will fail today. We will determinedly continue this fight despite PM Modi’s conspiratorial silence.” Read | As I&T minister slams trolls for lauding Gauri Lankesh’s killing, PM Modi draws flak for following them on Twitter. Click here
Reacting strongly against the respone, Ankit Lal, AAP member said, “I challenge @malviyamit to show anyone followed by @ArvindKejriwal who gave rape threats! It’s an open challenge. #Don’tLieAmit,” on Twitter. Meanwhile, Pratik Siha who is the co-founder of Alt News, an online portal that works against fake news and propaganda said, “Where @malviyamit lies about PM not unfollowing anyone coz he did unfollow @DrJwalaG after she accused @TajinderBagga of unethical behaviour.”
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 7, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been facing a lot of flak for following trolls through his personal account. In-fact angered by this, many Twitter users decided to block PM Modi’s account and the hashtag #BlockNarendraModi soon started trending. Sanjay Jha, spokesperson of Congress on Twitter said, “#BlockNarendraModi is a manifestation of public anger. Paid violent trolls and the large treasury chest of the #BJP cannot stop Indians.”
Many of the trolls about Lankesh were so vicious that Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed them as well. Taking to Twitter he said, “I strongly condemn & deplore the messages on social media expressing happiness on the dastardly murder of #Gaurilankesh. Expressing happiness on the killing of anyone is shameful, regrettable and totally against Indian traditions. Social media is not for that. I expect that Karnataka police will soon nab the killers of #GauriLakesh at the earliest at take action against them.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.