Minutes after Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday tweeted that the spirit of Kashmiriyat was alive because the people of Kashmir had condemned the Monday night terror attack on pilgrims to Amarnath, he found himself being trolled by social media users, who seemed outraged that a man of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh could show such seemingly soft sentiments.
The word “Kashmiriyat” refers to to the spirit of secular consciousness and tolerance that is believed to be inherent to the Kashmiri people. However, the concept is contested by some, claiming it is an artificial imposition of the state attempting national integration.
Among the first replies came from Trijata, a user who describes herself as a hardcore nationalist in her Twitter bio, who asked if Singh was in fact a “Thakur” or if he had ever visited a branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – that his restraint and hesitation were not qualities that the Sangh ever taught.
Trijata continued to troll Singh in other tweets, comparing him to an ageing Advani without any spirit, who had only got his current seat in Lucknow because of the work of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Other replies were in a similar vein.
Singh was swift to put down at least one of these condemnations. After MakeMyTrip editor Shuchi Singh Kalra said that this was not the time for Kashmiriyat and called for culling of “those cowards”, Singh demurred.
This is not the first time Singh has been trolled for his relatively mild statements. In 2016, after several soldiers were killed on the India-Pakistan border, Singh had said, “Hum iski kadi ninda karte hain” or “We strongly condemn this.” Then, as now, self-avowed members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other supporters of the BJP, trolled Singh for this, calling him Ninda Mama. This joke resurfaced on Tueday.
References to “kadi ninda” were not all lighthearted. Wrestler Geeta Phogat, who has participated in the Olympics and won a Commonwealth Games gold medal for her sport, tweeted last night that the time had passed for condemning terror and instead those responsible should be burnt alive.
Arun Kumar, founder of an online branding firm, referred to the Bhagvad Gita, saying that the time now was for action not condemnation.
Many, however, spoke out in support of Singh’s restraint. This included Balbir Punj, a BJP Rajya Sabha member of parliament from Odisha and one of the party’s vice presidents, who praised Singh for his nuanced expression.
Others too of different backgrounds supported the home minister.