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Outrage over Elon Musk’s reaction to ‘third world’ comment on India, how the ‘What’s wrong with India’ trend started as a smear campaign

While Elon Musk is agreeing to assertions that India is a third-world country, he has been trying to launch Tesla in Indi-, the so-called ‘third world’ nation.

On the 25th of March, Elon Musk, the owner of social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), found himself at the centre of online outrage after his comment on an X post calling India “third world”.

An X user @Rothmus shared a news report of a white woman gangraped in 2018 in India while she was seeking a cure for depression. Along with the news report screenshot, the X user wrote, “I blame Eat, Pray, Love for making white women believe the third world is a cure for their depression.”

Reacting to this, Musk commented, “Yeah”.

This, however, did not go well with Indian X users and soon an outrage erupted in response to Musk’s comment in a way affirming India as a third-world country.

Replying to Elon Musk, @theskindocotor wrote, “It’s a story from six years ago. While such incidents are unforgivable, they unfortunately occur everywhere. I can provide plenty of examples from the US as well. It’s appalling to see India being slandered based on a few incidents. If you’re looking for a pattern, consider this: In just 2024, ten Indian/Indian-origin students have been killed in the US. But since they were Indians, it doesn’t matter.”

Notably, a 33-year-old Latvian woman Liga Skromane who came to Kerala back in 2018 was drugged and raped before being brutally murdered by two men. On 20th April 2018, her decomposed body was found hanging from a tree near Kovalam Beach. According to reports, she had gone missing from an Ayurvedic treatment centre. The police had arrested two accused drug peddlers and booked them under relevant sections of the IPC and NDPS Act. In 2022, the accused duo were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Another Indian X user responded, “I blame Hollywood for making brown women believe that a racist & rapist country like USA can give them a good life.” The X user attached a 2019 news report about an Indian-American woman raped and murdered in Chicago.

One @coolfunnytshirt wrote, “I hope you realize this type of silly assertions leads to the normalization of such racist incidents in USA.” The X user added a report to highlight the rising number of mysterious deaths of Indian students in the United States.

Meanwhile, an X user pointed out that the date in the news report shared in the original post was deliberately cropped to ensure higher engagement. “It’s a story from 2018. Date carefully removed from the original screenshot to maximize engagement,” @YieldObserver wrote.

Ironically, while on X, Elon Musk is agreeing to assertions that India is a third-world country, on the ground he has been trying to launch Tesla in India, the very same so-called ‘third world’.

The said X post slandering India using a years-old case and the subsequent outrage over Musk’s comment warrants recalling the recent online smear campaign “What’s wrong with India?”.

As OpIndia reported earlier, this malicious online campaign run by foreign social media accounts aimed at showing India in a negative light, targeting and ridiculing it for prevalent social and civic issues such as disregarding lane discipline and traffic signals, breaking rules and queues, public urination, food habits, the presence of homeless beggars on crowded streets, instances of eve teasing, drunk driving, fraud, corruption, drug trafficking among others. Notably, while these issues plague most of the countries around the world but were used specifically by detractors against India to paint a negative image about the country and discredit giant strides it is making, especially in the past 10 years.

The “What’s wrong with India?” campaign, however, was soon “hijacked” by Indian X users who shared videos from outside India to illustrate how no country is perfect and each of them is facing a unique set of challenges defined by their socio-economic conditions, historical traditions, and social ethos.

Notably, the Indian X users questioned Musk why Indians do not have access to the Community Notes. Many users had pointed out that although Indians can sign up for community notes to become contributors, however, their profiles were not approved despite signing up nearly a year ago.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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