A couple of days ago I noticed that anyone on Twitter calling attention to the terrifying power grab and concomitant communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir was being attacked and vilified in a weirdly familiar way and this is continuing into the fourth day of the clampdown. Al-Jazeera reports that more than 560 academics, activists and business leaders have been arrested.
The Modi government, having summarily put an end to the long-held special sovereignty of this majority Muslim region, has also done its level best to make sure nobody hears how their new subjects feel about it.
Tourism?! They literally threw out all the tourists (citing a vague ‘security alert’ according to the goverment) before the power grab commenced. Then the internet and telephone systems, even landlines, were shut off for more than seven million people, who are still under curfew. No markets or restaurants or businesses open, and still no telephones.
The few stories from Kashmir that have emerged so far inspire no confidence whatsoever.
Some valuable accounts of what’s happening are available on Twitter and elsewhere, like one, which is well worth reading.
Even a tiny comment like the one I made on Twitter a couple of days ago in response to the freakish aggression against journalist Rana Ayyub attracted literally hundreds of trolls. A whole lot of Hindu nationalists (if these are real people, that is) are evidently okay with the Modi government’s violent power grab.
I’m not pretending to report on a political situation I understand only very dimly. But I’m on Twitter quite a bit, and as I read these comments I was startled to see how uncannily similar to the MAGA kind these trolls behave and sound. Just like the Gamergate ones, and the Pizzagate ones. US writers quite commonly catch a swarm of them, like a bout of the flu, when they challenge authoritarians not only in the Modi government but also the governments of Hungary, Poland, the government of Donald Trump or the hardline Brexiteers.
Are these pro-authoritarian trolls real people, and if so, how many are real and how many are fake? Are they centralized in some way, organized, and if so, where and how? Why are they so viciously defending the annexation of Kashmir on Twitter?
My question was, again, what are the chances the Modi government will face sanctions from the US and the UK for their power grab? Here’s a few answers: