"Listen To My Voice": 8-Year-Old "Homeless" Climate Activist To PM Modi

Ms Kangujam, whose Twitter bio calls her "a homeless child climate activist" refused the accolade saying she preferred to focus on challenges facing the environment

'Listen To My Voice': 8-Year-Old 'Homeless' Climate Activist To PM Modi

Young climate change activist Licypriya Kangujam has been trolled on Twitter

New Delhi:

A minor controversy has erupted after Licypriya Kangujam, an eight-year-old Manipur girl, turned down praise from the government ahead of Women's Day, which will be celebrated worldwide on Sunday. Ms Kangujam, whose Twitter bio describes her as "a homeless child climate activist" refused the accolade saying she preferred to focus on challenges facing the environment and urged India's political leaders to instead "raise my voice at the ongoing parliament session".

In sharply-worded tweets posted this morning, Ms Kangujam, who was been compared by many to 17-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, also warned politicians to "never attempt to use me for your political gains... I'm not in your favour".

"Dear politicians and political parties. I don't need appreciation for this. Instead ask your MPs to raise my voice at the ongoing parliament session. Never attempt to use me for your political gains and propagandas. Don't appreciate it. I'm not in your favour," a tweet from Ms Kangujam's account read.

"Your MPs also dumb, deaf and blind. Nothing more or less by Government ruling MPs. This is complete failure. Act Now. #ClimateCrisis," a second tweet read.

The tweets, and her refusal of the praise, have sharply divided opinion online, with some Twitter users trolling the young girl. They have pointed out the account associated with Ms Kangujam says "managed by guardian", suggesting the views may not be hers.

"Ur a person seeking publicity by negative portrayal, u have no idea how this going to shape ur world," one user said.

"We will definetly support you if you start handling ur @twitter handle by ur own!" another tweet, that was later deleted, said.

Others backed her attempts to raise awareness on such a critical issue, with one user posting: "As a citizen of India. I just wanna say that what you're doing and have done is absolutely commendable. India stands besides you in this journey of change. More power to you @LicypriyaK".

A second: INDIA is proud of You. Can't say anything about so called INDIAN who like to bully you".

Another user wrote: "She is India herself.... and she has right to have view if something wrong is happening around... I admire her courage".

The tweets also echo sentiments raised made by Ms Thunberg, who has emerged as the world's leading figure in the fight against climate change. Like Licypriya Kangujam, she too has been repeatedly trolled online, most infamously by United States President Donald Trump.


Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg has clashed with world leaders like Donald Trump

On Friday Ms Kangujam's account had responded to a tweet by MyGovIndia, a citizen engagement platform founded by the centre, which said: "Isn't she inspiring?"

The praise, coming after PM Modi said women achievers would be invited to operate his social media accounts on Women's Day, was interpreted as an invitation to access his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds; these are followed by millions around the world.

Ms Kangujam's response tagged PM Modi's Twitter account and said: "Dear @narendramodi-ji, Please don't celebrate me if you are not going to listen my voice. Thank you for selecting me amongst the inspiring women of the country under your initiative #SheInspiresUs. After thinking many times, I decided to turns down this honour".

India has sought to take the lead in the world's fight on climate change. In September last year the Prime Minister warned global leaders they were not doing enough on this issue.

However, critics have pointed to the enormity of the challenge facing the world; scientists say the long-term average temperature rise must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels to prevent runaway warming and catastrophic longer term damage.

Unfortunately the level of emissions being released has risen to an all-time high, triggering global weather hazards from heat waves to intense hurricanes and raging wildfires.

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