A social media storm has been brewing following the raids by the Pune police in many states on Tuesday, where they arrested poets, writers and activists, accusing them of being "Maoist sympathisers".
The police raided homes of Varaara Rao and Kranthi Tekula in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira in Mumbai, Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swami in Chhattisgarh, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi and Anand Teltumbde in Goa.
Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj have been detained by the police.
Many people have said on social media that this is merely a way to curb and discourage dissent. Meanwhile, film director and author Vivek Agnihotri asked some “bright young minds” to put together a list of those defending “Urban Naxals”.
Several social media users slammed Vivek's tweet and argued that terms like "Urban Naxal" and others were simply used by a section of the media and people to malign those who have an anti-establishment stance. Others accused him of openly inciting hate.
Check out some of the tweets in response to Vivek below.
'Urban Naxal', 'Half Maoist', 'Love jehad', 'Free Sex', 'Tukde Tukde Gang' - just some of the nonsense phrases used to smear activists, intellectuals and basically anyone defending rights of people under attack from the Modi Govt!— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) August 28, 2018
Soon, the hashtag “Me Too Urban Naxal” started trending, with people ridiculing Vivek’s call to make a list. They argued that if debating and dissenting meant that they are ‘Urban Naxals’, so be it.
There are hundreds of other tweets with the same hashtag, expressing similar sentiments on social media.
Further, people also accused Vivek of tweeting the initial idea of the list of "Urban Naxals" to promote his book Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam. He reportedly defines "Urban Naxals" as “urban intellectuals, influencers or activists of importance” who are actually India’s “invisible enemies”. Some of them, Vivek alleges in his book, “have either been caught or are under the police radar for working for the movement and spreading insurgency against the Indian State”.
When will people understand that Vivek Agnihotri uses bigoted communal pot stirring to market his craptastic films and books. Stop giving him a platform for more attention.— Mihir Fadnavis (@mihirfadnavis) August 29, 2018
Meanwhile, people have also pointed out that the counter hashtag to Vivek Agnihotri, may actually end up legitimising the term "Urban Naxals". It was also pointed out that people proudly tweeting with the tag had the privilege to do so, and if that a list was actually made, those without the privilege, would be at highest risk.
All said and done, in the times we live in, what identities we think we have, don’t matter. What defines us are the tags everyone else gives us & mostly our immediate identity is what we are always reduced to.— Ashwaq Masoodi (@ashwaqM) August 29, 2018