A day after multi-city raids at the homes of 10 activists over suspected Maoist links led to the arrests of five of them, #MeTooUrbanNaxal became the second-most popular Twitter trend. The Pune Police say that their investigation into the Koregaon Bhima violence led them to these activists. Their arrests were heavily criticised and described as "absolutely chilling" and an attempt to "muzzle the voice of dissent".
The term "urban naxals" was condemned by activists, lawyers and Dalit leaders in a joint statement, which said the expression was invented to "stifle any criticism of the government".
However, it picked up big time after filmmaker and author Vivek Agnihotri asked some "bright young minds" to help him draw a list of those who are "defending urban naxals" on Twitter.
"I want some bright young people to make a list of all those who are defending #UrbanNaxals Let's see where it leads," he tweeted.
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
Thousands of users responded to his call and soon the hashtag destroyed him on Twitter.
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
Tons of people are already using #MeTooUrbanNaxal on Twitter and Facebook. Let us destroy this new fascist wet dream of branding those who stand up for the underprivileged and marginalised sections of the society as Urban Naxals.- Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) August 29, 2018
#UrbanNaxal is the new Anti-National- Dhruv Rathee (@dhruv_rathee) August 29, 2018
The word "Anti-national" became a big joke and lost its actual meaning after ministers & trolls started using it for anyone and everyone mindlessly.
Same thing is happening with Urban Naxal. That's why #MeTooUrbanNaxal
Mr Agnihotri has written a book titled "Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam", which "exposed the nexus between an India-wide Maoist terror movement and their supporters in urban centers such as academia and media", according to the description.
Love the #MeTooUrbanNaxal trend. More power to resilience. More power to the good fight.- Nazia Erum (@nazia_e) August 29, 2018
Tell me a RSS leader who was martyred fighting for India ?Yet they are patriots & others are terrorists !#MeTooUrbanNaxal- Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) August 29, 2018
I think, therefore I am #MeTooUrbanNaxal- Shahnaaz Khan (@myconoclast) August 29, 2018
The five who have been arrested are Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves after raids were carried out at their Delhi, Faridabad, Goa, Mumbai, Ranchi and Hyderabad homes.
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