On August 17, Islamist group Taliban held a press conference after taking control of Afghanistan. ‘Liberal’ in India were so “impressed” by the conference that they used it to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Following the footsteps of toolkit-creators, a series of posts popped up on social media platform Twitter shaming PM Modi for not holding a press conference since he resumed office in 2014.
Here are some of the sample tweets by Indian ‘liberals’.
To put things in perspective, Taliban is Islamist group which has been sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US laws. It ruled Afghanistan from 1996 till it was toppled by US forces in 2001. It is believed Taliban sheltered Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda terrorist who led the September 11, 2001 attack on World Trade Centre and other places in US. Eventually, he was caught from a compound in Pakistan’s Abbottabad.
The Taliban were founded in southern Afghanistan by Mullah Mohammad Omar to fight the Soviet forces in 1989. After taking over Afghanistan, Taliban imposed strict Islamic rules that banned television and music, barred girls from going to school and forced women to wear head-to-toe coverings called burqas. There were reports of public beatings of women who left their homes without a male attendant. Public flogging and execution for violation of Taliban laws was very common. The Taliban also did not allow women to work.
On Sunday, dramatic visuals emerged from Afghanistan as Kabul fell to Taliban and the top leader of the country including President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The men with rocket launchers and guns took over the presidential palace and other parts of the country. Visuals of Talibanis in amusement parks with rocket launchers hanging on their backs went viral. Thousands of Afghans tried to flee the country to save their lives. Dramatic visuals where Afghans were falling off the sky after trying to flee the country by hanging from wheels of aeroplanes have also gone viral.
However, for Indian ‘liberals’ Taliban is at least better than Indian Prime Minister because well, they held a press conference. Prime Minister Modi since he came to power first in 2014 has been interacting with the people of India through his radio programme Mann Ki Baat. He regularly posts updates on social media sites as well. However, since he ‘has not held press conference’, Taliban is better.
This is quite similar to the time when the same set of ‘liberals’ blamed Indian right wing Twitter users after the same Taliban killed Indian photo journalist Danish Siddiqui. Siddiqui, who rose to prominence in India due to images of funeral pyres amid second wave of coronavirus pandemic, was identified as Indian, killed and his body mutilated by the Taliban earlier in July. However, after Taliban got to know of his body of work after his death, they ‘apologised’. Soon after the ‘apology’, Indian ‘liberals’ instead of condemning Taliban, who actually killed him, attacked ‘right wing’ on Twitter.
In fact, they even refused to condemn Taliban and made it appear like Danish died of natural causes. Taliban was better because ‘it said sorry’ (after killing him) than the ‘right wing’ on Twitter, who had nothing to do with his death.