When Narendra Modi was in the Opposition, he was a vocal critic of then PM Manmohan Singh's silence on several issues. However, ever since Modi became the PM in 2014, he has been questioned for his selective silence on many issues.
The most recent instance is the PM's reluctance to say anything at all about the deaths of 13 civilians who were gunned down in clashes between police and those protesting against Sterlite's copper smelter in Thoothukudi earlier this week. The incidents, which have widely been called 'state sponsored murder', have drawn sharp reactions from political leaders across the country. However, PM Modi has not reacted to it in any way.
To add insult to injury, Modi has been tweeting about fitness challenges.
Amid calls demanding that the government be held accountable for its cold-blooded actions, Modi's tweet on Thursday morning has attracted the ire of social media.
Indian men's cricket team captain Virat Kohli tagged the Prime Minister, along with actor and his wife Anushka Sharma, in the 'Fitness Challenge' on Twitter.
The challenge, initiated by Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, urges people to share photos and videos of how they keep themselves fit and also tag their friends in the challenge.
The PM tweeted that he has accepted the challenge and that he will be be sharing his own fitness video soon.
It did not take long for people to question Modi's priorities and his silence on the Thoothukudi killings as well as several other burning issues in the country at present.
Respected Prime Minister,— Shenbagaraj (@shenbagarajG) May 24, 2018
I'm from TN(a tax paying part of India).Kudos on taking @imVkohli 's challenge. But there's this little town in our state called "Thoothukudi" where 12 of our civilians have been shot dead by the govt. Kindly spare a sec to look into our challenges too.
Dear Prime Minister, Not even a word from you on #Tuticorin massacre and here in twitter playing with a Cricketer!!— Selvam (@SelvamSports) May 24, 2018
While we have nothing against accepting fitness challenge from @imVkohli . I urge you to accept the challenge to provide jobs to young, relief to farmers, promise of no violence against dalits & minorities. Would you accept my challenge @narendramodi Sir?— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) May 24, 2018
When people are dying in police firing, jobs are getting lost, there is no food on the plate, fuel prices are shooting up, all Modi and his minions can think of is a fitness challenge.— Dushyant (@atti_cus) May 24, 2018
Every person has a job. My gym trainer will take care of my fitness. As PM, you jolly well take care of your job - to give jobs, keep fuel prices low, have social harmony and govern. You have failed on all counts and are trying to now distract us with these tamashas.— Dushyant (@atti_cus) May 24, 2018
.@NarendraModi presides over a "fitness challenge" with a coterie of B'wood & cricketing celebs & sycophant ministers at a time when a calculated massacre comparable to Jallianwala Bagh has occurred to stall citizens uprising against a mining company co-sponsoring his power lust. pic.twitter.com/WnbGkjwDpo— Angshukanta (@angshukanta) May 24, 2018
Modi's tryst with crude prices should remind us of that old dictum: "You know who is swimming naked when the tide runs out." Now he is trying to distract us with newer tamashas like fitness challenge. #JustJumlas #OilPrice— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 24, 2018
PM #Modi accepts #FitnessChallenge.. I wish protestors who were shot at, were also as fit as him. The protestors are protesting against #Vedanta's smelter that is contaminating ground water and will lead to health issues..what about fitness challenge for them? #SterliteProtest— Devika Mittal (@devikasmittal) May 24, 2018
Shri @narendramodi is accepting #FitnessChallenge from sports stars. How about accepting a #FitnessToRuleChallenge from citizens - Break silence on #Vedanta #ThoothukudiMassacre, stop telling lies, provide jobs, protect farmers, jail lynchers, sack party men who protect rapists?— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) May 24, 2018
Look at d misplaced&inverted priorities of d regime! While #Thoothukudi has witnessed one of d most barbaric forms of violence by d state brazenly appearing on d side of crony capitalists, our @narendramodi ji is accepting fitness challenge frm @imVkohli— Manoj K Jha (@manojkjhadu) May 24, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has come up with his own version of the challenge, i.e. #FuelChallenge, daring the PM to reduce fuel prices, failing which, he said, the Congress will launch a nationwide agitation.
Dear PM,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 24, 2018
Glad to see you accept the @imVkohli fitness challenge. Here’s one from me:
Reduce Fuel prices or the Congress will do a nationwide agitation and force you to do so.
I look forward to your response.#FuelChallenge
Previously, Modi's studied silence on the Kathua and Unnao rape cases where the BJP came under flak, had also been widely criticised. The international media attention finally forced the PM to acknowledge the incidents.
Meanwhile, addressing the media on Thursday, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister justified the police firing on unarmed protesters, calling it a "natural reaction".
"Some anti-social elements instigated the situation. They attacked the police. Police first used tear gas, then protesters tried to set fire to Collector's office and vans on fire. That's why the police had to resort to this. This is a natural reaction, it wasn't pre-planned," Edappaddi Palaniswami said.
Putting the blame squarely on “anti-social elements” and Opposition parties for Tuesday’s violence, EPS claimed that they had instigated the people of Thoothukudi to give a bad name to the government.