Anti-reservationists, looking for new ways to spread their message, have hit upon a new technique on Facebook: creating fake profiles of respected bureaucrats or UPSC success stories, and posting anti-reservation messages in their name.
In the last week, two such prominent incidents have come to light. In the first, numerous fake profiles of the first ever Dalit girl to top the UPSC exams, Tina Dabi, popped soon after news of her success spread on mainstream and social media. According to The Indian Express, more than 35 fake profiles of UPSC exam topper have appeared, with most attributing quotes to her that she has never uttered.
One post, in particular, which praised Narendra Modi and criticised reservations as a tool of vote bank politics caught a lot of attention. Although the fake profile has reportedly been taken down, this post has been shared on various other anti-reservation pages.
â€śItâ€™s very creepy. I never said these things about hard work or dedication. These profiles are quoting someone else and attributing it to me. In future, they may do something worse,â€ť TIE quoted Dabi as saying about these fake profiles.
Dabi also protested against being drawn into the controversy against her wishes, saying, â€śItâ€™s heartbreaking that some people wonâ€™t let me enjoy my success after all the hard work I put in.â€ť
Even before that incident died down, a second case has come to light, this time with Munnar Assistant Superintendent of Police Merin Joseph. A post on a fake profile of the police officer purportedly compares the scores of a Dalit girl who qualifies for the USPC main exam over a general category student who fails to, despite scoring higher than the Dalit girl. The post is titled, â€śReservation: A Curseâ€ť
Immediately after this post, another post appeared on the same account, this time showing a cartoon of two men standing at a wall. The shorter of the two is poised on a platform captioned â€śReservedâ€ť. In the second cartoon, the heights of the two men are reversed, and the man standing on the â€śReservedâ€ť platform is easily able to scale the wall, while the other (purportedly â€śgeneralâ€ť candidate) is too short to reach up to the top of the wall.
In a country where the UPSC exam is seen as one of the most difficult entrance procedures to crack, and UPSC toppers and IAS and IPS officers are seen as success stories, mentors and role models, these posts are helping to drum up anti-reservation opinion.
Despite repeated denials by Merin Joseph and Tina Dabi, these posts continue to have a life of their own, as they bring forth anti-reservation feelings of numerous others.