The Greta-model of activism has indeed gained significant prominence in recent years. Ambitious guardians use their wards in order to pursue their personal political agenda. Using children for activism has a distinct advantage as adults have an innate aversion towards criticizing children too harshly, as they should. Nefarious agendas can be made presentable by having children advocating them, as the inherent innocence of children masks the hideous nature of such activism, quite effectively.
Unsurprisingly, the said form of activism has arrived in India as well. Licypriya Kangujam, one eight-year-old ‘child activist’, recently made news for turning down Narendra Modi’s #SheInspiresUs to honour women on Twitter because she did not ‘want to be celebrated if PM Modi was not going to listen to her’. As it turns out, the account is not operated by Licypriya. The account is operated by her guardian.
After ‘woke’ comedians and politicians used Licypriya’s guardian’s tweet to attack Prime Minister Modi, former National General Secretary of Congress’ students’ wing, National Students Union of India (NSUI), Angellica Aribam revealed how Licypriya was made into a celebrity over fake claims of achievements.
Aribam mentioned that in April 2019, Licypriya claimed that she was on her way to UN headquarters in Geneva to address a ‘global UN session’ for ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’. The news was widely reported and Licypriya was congratulated on social media for ‘making India proud’. Except, it turned out to be fake. After Imphal Free Press uncovered that not only was she not invited to the UN but her father was also reported to be an alleged conman.
Now, Licypriya’s Twitter account, which is managed by her guardian, has resorted to blocking everyone who questions her credentials on the social media platform. It needs to be reiterated here that Licypriya is only eight years old, she has no control over what is happening. She is being used as a pawn in all of this. Angellica Aribam, who revealed the fraudulent claims of Licypriya’s achievements, was blocked by the child’s guardian managing her account.
And I just got blocked! pic.twitter.com/z1xGyYHROc
— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) March 7, 2020
Suryanarayan Ganesh, a Congress sympathizer, has also been blocked by the guardian operating Licypriya’s account.
— Suryanarayan Ganesh (@gsurya) March 8, 2020
Mohit Sharma, a journalist working with Times Now, was blocked by Licypriya’s guardian-operated account as well. Sharma saw it as a vindication of Aribam’s revelations.
That was fast. Just got blocked by @licypriyak for asking a question. Again, nothing against you kiddo, you probably have no idea what’s going around.@AngellicAribam I suppose that sort of vindicates your thread. https://t.co/FKyj3BbLFr pic.twitter.com/nBLOwmtByN
— Mohit Sharma (@iMohit_Sharma) March 8, 2020
Akhu Chingangbam, a TedX Speaker and an ex-physicist, discovered that he has been blocked as well.
— Akhu Chingangbam (@Akhucha) March 8, 2020
As it turns out, Kangujam Kanarjit, Licypriya’s father, is charged with cheating and fraud. He has been accused by several businessmen of duping them. Kanarjit has been accused of cheating multiple people, with amounts as high as Rs 19 lakh. In 2015, he was arrested in Manipur with charges of criminal case number 176 of 2015 under Section 420 (Fraud), 324 (Assault) and 406 (Criminal breach of trust).
The fall of Licypriya shows that activism is a very lucrative business. Given the manner in which so many activists have suffered a downfall in recent times, one would expect the media to perform a little more background check before shoving the opinions of activists down the throat of ordinary citizens. The tale of Licypriya should serve as a caution for everyone who bought into the hoax. However, it is unlikely that the media will mend its ways.