Greta Thunberg Accidentally Posts Doc with Talking Points on India Protests, Faces Criminal Probe

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg drew the ire of police prosecutors in India on Thursday after she used social media to offer running commentary and advice on violent protests by the country’s farmers.

The 18-year-old left-wing eco-activist shared — and then quickly deleted — a message that detailed a list of “suggested posts” about the ongoing civil disorder, according to a report in the NY Post, which her critics say reveals she is being coached on what position to take by outsiders.

The list gave a series of tips on what to post on social media, asking her to also repost and tag other celebrities tweeting about it, including pop star Rihanna.

As well as the Twitter storm, the “toolkit” she shared also suggested highlighting planned demonstrations at Indian embassies.

The Delhi Police on Thursday filed a case against the activist over her tweets while rejecting foreign intervention on purely domestic matters.

For her part, Rihanna tweeted to her more than 101 million followers: “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” She linked to a CNN news report about India blocking internet services at the protest sites, a tactic of the government to thwart protests.

Senior government ministers, Indian celebrities and even the foreign ministry are now urging people to come together and denounce “outsiders” like Thunberg and Rihanna who try to “break the country.”

“It is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them,” India’s foreign ministry said Wednesday in a rare statement criticizing “foreign individuals” posting on social media. It did not name Rihanna and others who followed suit.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been hunkering down at the Indian capital’s fringes to protest new agricultural laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations. The protests are posing a major challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has billed the laws as necessary to modernize Indian farming.

Their largely peaceful protests turned violent on Jan. 26, India’s Republic Day, when a section of the tens of thousands of farmers riding tractors veered from the protest route earlier decided with police and stormed the 17th century Red Fort in a dramatic escalation.

Hundreds of police officers were injured and a protester died. Scores of farmers were also injured but officials have not given their numbers.

Farmer leaders condemned the violence but said they would not call off the protest.

Source: Breitbart

India Farmers’ Protests Began: Internet Shutdown Highlights Modi’s Record of Stifling Digital Dissent

The storming of the Red Fort in Delhi on January 26 marked an escalation of tensions between the Indian government – led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and farmers who have been protesting against agricultural reforms since August 2020.

With footage of the farmers clashing with police going viral, the Red Fort incident also marked a spike in interest in the farmers’ movement around the world, much to Modi’s embarrassment.

The authorities’ response to events at the Red Fort – a historic building symbolic of Indian independence, and located in the very heart of Old Delhi – was swift. Delhi Police shut down the city’s internet, affecting more than 52 million mobile phone subscribers. The shutdown was ostensibly in the interest of public safety, but it’s also the latest episode in India’s long-running story of heavy-handed internet crackdowns – a strategy used time and again to quell swelling protest movements.

India’s control over the internet is comparable to some of the world’s most authoritarian countries. While India ranks second in the world in terms of mobile internet subscribers, the country also leads in shutdowns. They’re used with alarming regularity to disrupt protest movements and – in the case of Kashmir, currently under the world’s longest internet shutdown – to control entire populations.

During the Citizen Act protests last year, shutdowns were used in Aligarh – home to the Aligarh Muslim University – one of the hubs of the protests, where severe police brutality is alleged to have taken place. The Indian government implemented more than 106 internet shutdowns in 2019 alone – the vast majority in response to protests.

This control is largely achieved via the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, passed into law in 2017, which expanded the government’s powers for surveillance and connectivity suspension, empowering it to control dissent and opposition.

In Kashmir, where there are tight restrictions on the rights to free expression, speech and assembly, internet shutdowns function as an “invisibility cloak” to crack down on dissent and isolate Kashmiris from the rest of the world. Because India’s supreme court has ruled that “indefinite internet shutdowns” are illegal, India’s government instead downgrades or “throttles” Kashmir’s mobile connectivity from 4G to 2G, seriously limiting what can be loaded on phones.

Tractors and tear gas

The recent events at the Red Fort also presented an example of India’s disinformation ecosystem. At a pivotal moment, some protesters raised a flag sacred to Sikhs next to the Indian flag, even as movement leaders pleaded with them to climb down. Hundreds of cameras caught the moment the flags where raised, uploading photos to social media.

These images were immediately seized upon by social media influencers loyal to Modi, who began a disinformation campaign which spread across the country, claiming the flag to be that of Khalistani separatists. In Modi’s India, separatists are often depicted as enemies of the state.

Disinformation spreads particularly quickly in India, where mobile internet packages make it cheaper to access social media than to run a Google search. This lack of “net neutrality” – favouring traffic to certain websites over others – discourages users from fact-checking what they see on social media.

In response to the fast-spreading flag disinformation, social media activists sympathetic to the farmers were quick to point out that the flag was the Sikh “Nishan Sahib”. They showed how the same flag is flown at all Sikh gurudwaras, used by regiments of the Indian army, and had even been sported by Modi while he campaigned in Punjab. It’s unclear how successful these efforts to neutralise “fake news” have been in a country with powerful state-backed media companies.

Angry anchors

Television anchors on state-backed news channels regularly tarnish protesting farmers as Khalistani separatists, Pakistani spies, members of the opposition Congress party, or communists. Using abusive words such as “behuda” (impudent), “badtameez” (ill-mannered), and “gunda” (goons), these anchors are aware that their language will inflame passions when cut into shorter clips for social media. These images achieve virality on WhatsApp and Facebook via common channels of circulation, drumming up support for the state’s crackdowns on dissent.

As with the flag dispute, India’s activists also know how to use the digital space to achieve their objectives. They post videos, release their own memes and hashtags, and are particularly strong at satire, humour, music and art.

By positioning cameras at key protest sites, clashes are recorded and live-streamed on social media, capturing alleged police brutality and heightening the pitch of public debate. Unfortunately, such tactics are often nullified by the state’s common default to full internet shutdowns.

And in a further move to shut down dissent, the government recently reportedly sent a legal notice to Twitter that led to the blocking of several accounts linked to the farmers’ protest – revealing the Modi administration’s ability to censor groups and individuals on specific platforms, too.

Beyond signalling the authoritarian drift of the “world’s largest democracy”, India’s internet shutdowns are also expensive affairs. Even as Modi promises to build a “digital India” to boost the country’s economy, his internet shutdowns are costing India US$2.8 billion (£2 billion) a year – which equates to 70% of the global cost of shutting off the internet in 2020. That he is willing to foot this bill is indicative of how much is at stake for Modi. It is time for the world to take notice.The Conversation

Subir Sinha, Senior Lecturer in Institutions and Development, SOAS, University of London

Source: ActivistPost

Report: India Suffers ‘Record Number of Violent Attacks Against Christians’

The number of violent attacks on Christians in India has been steadily increasing during the administration of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Telegraph reported Sunday.

The report suggests that it is precisely “the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist agenda” that has fueled the rise in attacks on Christians manifesting a “worrying trend” of religious intolerance.

New data “shows a record number of violent attacks against Christians across the country,” the Telegraph noted.

By all accounts 2019 was a very difficult year for Christians living in India, as Breitbart News has reported, and 2020 promises to be as bad if not worse. In the first quarter of 2019, hate crimes and targeted violence against Christians in India showed a jump of 57 percent over the same period in 2018, according to report released at the time by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

The persecution continued unabated through the year, and Indian Christians faced one of their most difficult Christmases in memory, suffering numerous acts of targeted persecution, according to a report from International Christian Concern (ICC).

The growing intolerance toward Christians severely curbed Christians’ ability to freely celebrate the Christmas holiday, ICC said, and many were forced to adjust their Christmas celebrations accordingly, due to “a fear of being attacked by Hindu radicals.”

Sunday’s Telegraph article recounts the story of Christian pastor Jai Singh, who was assaulted by a mob of some 200 Hindus chanting anti-Christian slogans in the village of Bitchpuri, which has a Christian population of some 120 souls.

The mob, instigated by members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an all-male paramilitary youth wing of Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), beat the pastor along with his 15-year-old son and dragged him to the village square.

“They hit me with their fists and then took me into the temple and beat me with sticks, before stretching my legs back as far as they would go,” resulting in two broken feet and permanent nerve damage to his legs, Rev. Singh told The Sunday Telegraph.

As is typical in such cases, Pastor Singh’s assailants have filed trumped-up charges against him for “attempted conversion” in an apparent attempt to silence him.

“We are living in constant fear and after hearing about the attack, many local believers renounced their faith,” Singh said.

“But for me it just made my faith stronger and I pray to God to forgive the people who attacked me,” he added.

According to the latest data, the year 2019 saw a record 328 violent attacks against Christians in India.

More than 300 Christians were detained without trial for their faith, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based legal advocacy organization, while numerous businesses, homes, churches, and schools were looted, torched, or vandalized. The ADF has registered a 220 percent increase in violent attacks on Christians since 2014 when Mr. Modi came to power.

Yet while 328 violent attacks were reported to officials, only 36 of these resulted in police filing a case. Not one of the incidents has resulted in prosecution.

Indian Christians trace their history back to 52 AD, when the apostle Thomas reached their shores to evangelize those living there. Presently there are some 28 million Christians in India, who comprise 2.3 percent of the overall population.

Source: Breitbart

India: Police Arrest 16 Muslims, Foil Jihad Attacks and Plot to “Establish Islamic Rule in India”

Police in India have foiled a plot to “establish Islamic rule” in India. 16 suspects were arrested and taken into custody; they were plotting a jihad attack in the country. They were reported to adhere to the “ideologies of Al Qaeda, Islamic State and Students Islamic Movement of India.”

In a statement by the National Investigation Agency:

Accused persons have been actively recruiting individuals to strike terror in India and have also been routinely posting videos and other jihadi propaganda material exhorting their supporters to conduct terrorist attacks using various methods including the use of explosives, poison, knives and vehicles, as means of attack.

There is a problem with Islam worldwide; “terror” is being struck into the hearts of disbelievers (Qur’an 8:60) — either the terror of jihad violence and attacks or the terror of being afraid to speak truth about the atrocities that are being committed in the name of Islam and being branded “Islamophobic.”

Leaders in India have been on alert. At the end of May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “right hand man” Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, “called Muslim migrants from Bangladesh ‘infiltrators’ and ‘termites’ and promised to ‘remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs.’”

The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS is rare in educating about “the jihad against India, where Muslim warriors and conquerors wrought unparalleled and unfathomable devastation in the name of their religion.”

The threat against India and almost everywhere else did not begin with “colonialism” and “Zionism,” as jihadists and their enablers contend.

“16 Tamil Nadu men were planning terror attacks, through knives, vehicles and poison: NIA,” by Deeptiman Tiwary, Indian Express (thanks to The Religion of Peace), July 19, 2019:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Friday identified the 14 terror suspects, who were deported this week from UAE and alleged that they were associated with varied ideologies of Al Qaeda, Islamic State and Students Islamic Movement of India. Along with the 14 suspects, two others were arrested and have been remanded in NIA custody for eight days. All 16 suspects hail from Tamil Nadu.

The NIA alleged that they had come together to form a terror group called Ansarulla and the accused had also collected funds and made preparations to carry out terrorist attacks in India, “with the intention of establishing Islamic rule in India.” It further alleged that the group members were exhorting others to carry out lone-wolf attacks using knives, vehicles or even poison.

In a statement, NIA said, “Accused persons have been actively recruiting individuals to strike terror in India and have also been routinely posting videos and other jihadi propaganda material exhorting their supporters to conduct terrorist attacks using various methods including the use of explosives, poison, knives and vehicles, as means of attack.”

NIA further claimed that it has booked the 16 in a case registered on July 9, “based on credible information received that the accused persons, owing allegiance to the proscribed terrorist organizations ISIS/ Daish, Al Qaida and SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India), while being within and beyond India, had conspired and conducted preparations to wage war against the Government of India by forming a terrorist gang Ansarulla.

Security establishment sources said the suspects were deported from UAE in two batches of seven with the first who arrived on July 13 and the second on July 15. The apprehended individuals were taken to Chennai in a special flight where they were produced in a court….

Source: JihadWatch

India Launches Airstrike on Pakistan after deadly Kashmir Attack

India launched an airstrike on Pakistan in retaliation for an alleged suicide bombing against its troops earlier in February, further heightening tensions between the two nuclear-armed states. Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the attack was directed at a militant training camp for Jaish-e-Muhammad, a group that India says carried out a suicide bombing Feb. […]