SHUBHDA CHAUDHARY | 13 AUGUST, 2019
Corbyn is UK Leader of the Opposition
NEW DELHI: “The situation in Kashmir is deeply disturbing. Human rights abuses taking place are unacceptable. The rights of the Kashmiri people must be respected and UN resolutions implemented,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of UK’s Labour Party on August 11, 2019.
At a time when most British leaders remained tight-lipped regarding Indian government’s sudden political move to revoke Article 370 and 35 A, Corbyn’s political stand-point while celebrated by his party and groups within the UK, attracted the Indian troll industry that slammed and abused him without mincing words.
Jeremy Corbyn leads the Labour party with 248 MPs and is the Leader of the rather strong opposition in the UK. He is a well respected, articulate leader who is known to speak out more than other politicians on human rights.
This was not Corbyn’s first run in with the trolls. In February 2019 after a tweet showing solidarity for the ‘people of Kashmir’ in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack he was subjected to a Twitter attack. The trolls asked him to address them as ‘people of India’.
Nevertheless, the recent trolling aims to dehumanise Corbyn, question his ‘carefully cultivated political image’, criticise his ‘lack’ of political knowledge and chastise his solidarity for Kashmiris.
The trolling from several Indian accounts involved a carefully orchestrated pattern of rebuke peculiar to the nature of the troll industry.
The entire premise of these allegations was to establish that Corbyn is ‘anti-Hindu,’ in the same casual manner in which Corbyn has been labelled ‘anti-Semitic.’
Following are the four major accusations built around Corbyn’s tweet.
- Kashmir was stated as an internal matter for India, just as Scotland and Northern Ireland are for the UK.
-The failure of Labour Party due to its ambiguous stand on Brexit was projected, predicting that it would never garner political leadership in UK against the Tories.
-Trolls also reprimanded Corbyn for his statement, clearly stating that India is an independent, sovereign country which does not require any British intervention.
-The ‘development model’ card played by the Indian government to empower Kashmiris by abolishing Article 370 and 35A was further used for this mudslinging.
‘Corbyn and Human Rights? He supported Palestinian activists responsible for the Munich Massacre’, tweeted Rita Gupta, former presenter at All India Radio.
This accusation had suddenly resurfaced in August 2018 against Corbyn after the UK right-wing tabloid Daily Mail published that he was laying wreath at the graves of Palestinian terrorists. Corbyn, in his defense, had mentioned ‘I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere. Because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence, the only way you can pursue peace [is] by a cycle of dialogue.”
Meanwhile, other trolls suggested that UK handle ‘its own mess’ instead of interfering in India’s internal matter.
“The situation in England is deeply disturbing. Human Rights and Sexual Abuses taking place are unacceptable. The rights of British girls must be respected and @UN must intervene to safeguard British girls. Request @narendramodi @AmitShah to take action,” tweeted Rahul Arya, whose Twitter handle is ‘#HinduCharter ॐ भारत ॐ’
Other twitter users like R.S. Bains (who identifies as a friend of Israel in his twitter Bio) and Joseph T Noony (student from Kerala) questioned his leadership, reminding him that the British Empire does not exist anymore.
Most of these trolls have India’s flag in their twitter profiles, along with very strong identification with their Hindu identity. Many of them have not used their real names/identities to further intensify the distorted cacophony of abuse against Corbyn. There is no statistical data, evidence or logical reasoning behind these accusations.
Meanwhile, Yasmin Qureshi (UK shadow minister for justice) along with other 8 Labour MPs of Pakistani origin have drafted a letter to Borris Johnson, the new UK Prime Minister to strongly condemn the actions of the Indian Government.
In a quick counter-attack, the Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman stated that Modi’s government, due to its democratic victory, is ‘perfectly entitled’ to implement BJP’s manifesto in J&K. His tweet on August 10, 2019 was widely shared and applauded.
Currently, the radio silence by the UK government on the military lockdown of J&K is a diplomatic move. A Downing Street Spokesperson had stated that Borris Johnson and Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation on August 7, 2019 in which Johnson called the situation in Kashmir as ‘serious.’
There have been protests taking place against the Indian High Commission in London on Kashmir that have garnered very limited social media attention.