JNU VC invites BJP’s IT-cell chief to lecture on Digital Literacy: Students Union protests

JNU Students’ Union’s pamphlet:

Troll-in-chief to deliver a
keynote address on ‘Digital
and Financial Literacy’!

JNU Vice- JNU Vice-Chancellor cordially invites JNU teachers, staff a Chancellor cordially invites JNU teachers, staff and students to attend a keynote address by Dr. Arvind Gupta, whose social media team on Twitter cordially abuses and threatens women with rape threats and graphic abuse!

Who is Arvind Gupta? 
Arvind Gutpa is the Head of the Social Media Team of BJP. He was in charge of the social media campaign of Narendra Modi before and during the 2014 General Elections. Yes, the BJP’s vitriolic “social media campaign team”, which is basically an army of paid trolls, abusive,

hateful, not afraid of being prosecuted, often followed by the official Twitter handle of Narendra Modi and loaded with a diverse vocabulary of rape threats against women, anti-Muslim hatred, organised abuse and trolling of political opponents.

Who controls the online troll army of BJP? Who controls the online troll army of BJP?

Arvind Gupta has led the social media campaigns of the BJP’s IT Cell for several years now. Shortly after Narendra Modi’s projection as Prime Minister began, women journalists and activists started to get unimaginable online abuse, if they wrote about Narendra Modi, or Gujarat Riots. Journalist Sagarika Ghose was among the first to flag this issue, first in a tweet

in 2010 that said: “Internet Hindus are like swarms of bees. they come swarming after you at any mention of Modi Muslims or Pakistan!”, and then in a 2012 article titled “Netiquette, Not

Censorship” in which she flagged the alarming trend of growing right-wing hatespeak on the Internet. She reproduced the daily dose of abuses that she received on the Internet: “Bitch, you deserve to be stripped and raped publicly.” “Randi ki aulad maadar…. why u r not covering assam riots, mulloh ne ma ch..i hai kya behan….. Dalli saali Rahul ki.” Ghose wrote: “For them, “whore”, “bitch”, “Congress pimp”, “Muslim-loving whore”, “Congress-funded media” are all in a day’s work.” This was followed by a research study by the Internet Democracy Project in which the majority of women respondents said that they received abuse at the very mention of ‘Modi’ in a negative sense or ‘Gujarat riots’, etc.

Most recently, in the book ‘I am a Troll’, journalist Swati Chaturvedi has showed, through interviews with people who have formerly worked with the BJP social media team, how the BJP BJP ordered the online abuse of women. More specifically, Sadhavi Khosla, the BJP volunteer who left the BJP social media team after being put off by its organised campaigns against Muslim actors, said that she received instructions from Arvind Gupta for engaging in a relentless campaign against Aamir Khan for his stances against rising intolerance in the country! Khosla further explained how instructions for running organised campaigns are distributed to volunteers via Whatsapp groups, emails, etc. to engage in targeted hounding of political opponents.

How the BJP endorses abuse of women online? How the BJP endorses abuse of women online? the BJP endorses abuse of women online?

Not once in all these years has BJP, or Arvind Gupta or Narendra Modi condemned such organised abuse and hatemongering. The BJP has been called out several times for running these rackets of abusive trolls. That the BJP orders the targeted online abuse of opponents has been an open secret for several years. Narendra Modi’s official Twitter handle, @narendramodi has been known to follow several such abusive Twitter accounts! Many a time, to set the trolls into action, a “ringleader” such as Chandan Mitra or Ashoke Pandit (both prominent faces of BJP in the online world), starts the attack in a malicious way, and this is followed by rape threats, graphic abuse and vehement trolling by the “troll armies.” Quite often, prominent pro-Modi ringleaders such as Alok Nath, Abhijeet (the singer), etc. themselves engage in abuse, unafraid of consequences because they enjoy the ruling party’s backing. When a JNU student, Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, complained about such abuse to the police, not only was her FIR quashed, but the court directed the police to file a counter FIR against her, for voicing her opinions against communalism! It is clear that the organised social media trolls enjoy impunity extended to them by the state structures. Only now has it become official, after the statements of a former BJP IT Cell volunteer in Swati Chaturvedi’s book, “I am a Troll.”

All this should not be surprising, since a party that relies on communal riots, organised high-level crime, hooliganism and hatemongering shouldn’t be expected to behave any different on an online platform. However, what is indeed surprising is the red carpet welcome extended to the troll-in-chief, Arvind Gupta, by the JNU Vice-Chancellor. What will the troll-sardar tell us about financial literacy and digital access? Why invite him to deliver a keynote address to a person who organises online abuse of women? What does it mean to extend official courtesies to a person who is holding neither an academic position, nor a Constitutional position, but who simply heads the IT Cell of BJP’s social media team?

It is absolutely appalling how the JNU VC, while kicking out its own students who demand to meet him, is busy extending hospitality to the social media head of BJP, with absolute disregard to what this means for gender justice!

JNUSU demandsthat the keynote address that the keynote address that the keynote address should be called off, keeping in view the should be called off, keeping in view the shady affiliations and actions of the shady affiliations and actions of the person who is supposed to deliver the keynote address.

Courtesy: India Resists



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