On July 26, six police officers from Assam were killed and 65 people, including civilians, were injured in the fresh violence that broke out at the disputed Assam-Mizoram border. Tensions had risen along the Assam-Mizoram border after reports of firing between the police of both states emerged. According to Assam Police, their Mizo counterparts opened fire at them at Lailapur.
Like always, the recent clash was also a fallout of the altercation that occurred over land encroachment between the people of the two states. The Ministry of Home Affairs has called for a meeting with the Chief Ministers of Mizoram and Assam in a bid to solve the border dispute that dates back to several decades.
Amid this tension in the North-Eastern states, some social media users are trying to increase the tension by spreading anti-Assam views, probably because of their hatred for CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. Even though it is Assam which has lost 6 police officials and several others are injured, hashtag #ShameOnAssam was seen trending at number 5 on Twitter, with 98.4K tweets employing it by Wednesday evening.
Pointing out the same, one Twitter user going by the handle @vikrantkumar posted an interesting observation regarding the ongoing trend.
Saw the’ Shame on Assam’ hashtag trending.. so did a quick check on who is trending it.— Vikrant ~ विक्रांत (@vikrantkumar) July 28, 2021
Found that most of the handles are from the USA, only 1/3rd from India. Just 2.6 million reach shows that mostly bots were used.
Who is behind it? pic.twitter.com/wjXf9OftCV
He shared a screenshot of the search result of the trending hashtag #ShameonAssam on the social media analytics and monitoring platform Talkwalkers. The search results showed that most of the Twitter handle that posted the hashtag were from the USA. While data shows that 28K handles are mapped to India, almost double of that i.e 43.3K handles are mapped to the USA.
Moreover, the data showed that the hashtag managed to garner only 2.6 million reaches, which proves that mostly bots were used with the aim to fan internal tension in India.
If one searches the hashtag on Twitter, it can be easily seen that bots from mostly outside India and some within India have been tactically used to peddle the anti-India narrative. Interestingly, mostly all the Twitter handles posting the hashtag, belonging to non-Indians are unverified with not more than 10-11 followers.
In one observes carefully, these bots have mostly retweeted each other posts to trend the hashtag #ShameOnAssam.
Though it is unclear who might be behind this unscrupulous act, it is sufficiently clear that the recent border clash has been craftily used by propagandists to once again peddle a dangerous anti-India narrative on the microblogging website and bots, which buy legitimacy with fake names and accounts, have been engaged to fan internal conflicts in India.