The murky world of Prashasak Samiti: Meet BJP and Adityanath’s social media warriors

They turn hate speech into trending topics as part of a campaign to establish Hindutva in India.

ByPrateek Goyal
The murky world of Prashasak Samiti: Meet BJP and Adityanath’s social media warriors
Shambhavi Thakur
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Last year in May, the village of Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh made news when its Dalit residents alleged that a marriage procession of theirs had been stopped by a group of local Muslims. The situation became tense enough to warrant armed police being deployed in the area.

While efforts were made to calm the situation in Noorpur, this hashtag surfaced on Twitter: #नूरपूर_भीम_के_दुश्मन_मीम (Muslims are enemies of Noorpur’s Dalits). Messages with this hashtag falsely claimed that Muslims in Noorpur had not let the Dalit groom ride a mare to his wedding, as per wedding customs.

Two months before this incident, the hashtag #भीम_मीम_धोखा_है (the Dalit-Muslim alliance is a fraud) started trending on Twitter, and claimed Dalits and Muslims were joining hands to create discord among Hindus. Four days before tempers flared in Noorpur, the hashtag #HinduUniteAgainstZehad was spotted among Twitter’s trending topics in India.

These hashtags and the attempt to encourage online Islamophobia were the handiwork of Prashasak Samiti, which describes itself as a “social media network”.

PS’s online avatars include multiple groups on the messaging platform Telegram, where PS has more than 60,000 members; 2,500 groups on the messaging platform WhatsApp; a Twitter following of 21,300 people; more than 60,000 followers on the social media platform Koo; an Instagram following of 42,700 people; two YouTube channels with more than 25,000 subscribers in total; and two pages on Facebook, one of which has 1,24, 645 followers.

On all these platforms, PS spreads false news and hate speech, targeting Indian Muslims and other minority communities.

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