Pro-CAA elements infiltrated protest, and you didn't notice

Updated: 22 December, 2019 10:12 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

The group, Know The Nation, shared short video interviews with Mumbai's protesters on social media; calls them 'misinformed'

Protesters at August Kranti Maidan on Thursday. File pic
Protesters at August Kranti Maidan on Thursday. File pic

On December 19, when lakhs of people took to August Kranti Maidan to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, there were pro-CAA elements present among them, who were questioning and recording their "uninformed views" on the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on camera. These video clips were later shared on Twitter and Facebook, along with #ISupportCAA_NRC.

The group, Know The Nation, which claims to be a "one-stop platform where common people can voice their opinions," has uploaded a total of 13 such videos. In the videos, a female voice can be heard asking protesters, which includes teenagers, LGBTQ representatives and young girls, why they were present at the venue and what they were protesting about. These short interview-like video clips took a dig at the protesters, claiming that there had been "shocking levels of misinformation" at the August Kranti protest.

Protesters put on the spot
One such video of a German woman holding a placard, has a voice behind the camera, casually asking her: "So, what is wrong with the bill?" The German national says, "This is not something I want to talk about." But, the female voice keeps insisting that she speak up. The woman then responds saying that she doesn't want history to repeat itself. The female voice behind the camera asks, "Why do you think history is repeating itself?" At this point, the German says, "This gets really really really deeply political. At this point, I don't want to say it."

A screenshot of the page
A screenshot of the page

The video clip ends with the female voice asking the German if she thinks whether what is happening in India right now is "racism," to which the latter begins by answering "Yeah, for..." The video then abruptly comes to an end. The caption that this clip went up with, read: "This young German lady then ended up calling CAA as one which enforces racism. Was this unwitting crowd brought at August Kranti Maidan only for international appeal?"

The female voice also questions a young boy sitting on his father's shoulder at the protest. She asks him: "Kya problem hain? Thoda batao." The boy's father responds for him, but the female voice demands that the boy speak up. This video clip was uploaded with the caption: "We are extremely saddened to put this video out. The sheer extent to which children are being used as pawns to propagate political hate is beyond shocking. What are we teaching our children?"

The handle @knowthenation was started on Twitter in December 2017, and has 22,300 followers. Apart from sharing video clips from the August Kranti protest, the page has also been publishing threads of how "part-time Congress worker Rajdeep Sardesai led the path for the smear campaign against CJI Gogoi," as well as propaganda clips from Ayodhya.

The saffron trail
The followers of this page include Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP's national Information & Technology; Priti Gandhi, national in-charge of social media for BJP Mahila Morcha, and Madhukeshwar Desai, national vice-president, BJP Youth Wing. However, the page itself follows just five people on Twitter—PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the official BJP party handle, the PMO's office and Jagat Prakash Nadda (National Working President, BJP). Messages to the admins of the Twitter and Facebook pages, did not yield any response.

Total no. of followers on Know Your Nation's Twitter page. They are also on Facebook

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First Published: 22 December, 2019 07:09 IST

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