Amit Malviya, a politician associated with the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and, heads the party’s IT cell that is notoriously famous for spreading fake news disinformation and running a ‘troll army’ consisting of unemployed BJP sympathizers.
Malviya, the ringmaster of the propaganda machinery/BJP IT Cell, has to his credit the title of the first Indian political personality to face a restrictive action by Twitter for spreading misinformation. Malviya tweeted an edited clip from the farmers’ protests which Twitter tagged as ‘manipulated media.’
Malviya is true to his profession and has no qualms in defending the malevolent social media trolls.
“Using the troll brand to dismiss an argument, just because it doesn’t meet your exacting standards of language, or idiom or phraseology, is perhaps not the right way to do it (sic),” Malviya says, normalizing the vicious troll ecosystem that his troll army has perpetuated in India.
His troll army runs campaigns for genocide, incites hatred, violence, and posts profanities and threats to those who dare to dissent with the Hindu supremacist ideology.
His endorsement of the hate speech regime in contemporary India can be gauged from the fact that in a TV debate over fake news, he simply diverted the question about hate speeches by saying, “Who would decide as to what is hate speech?’ Maliviye was aghast at Facebook’s move in which the social media platform had banned a post by a BJP leader who referred to “Rohingyas as terrorists” and demanded that mosques built by them be razed to the ground.
He is professional at producing and spreading fake news and propaganda to suit the divisive agenda of his party. An Altnews report in 2020 profiled some of the flagrant lies he floated repeatedly. The list is although an exemplar of his modus operandi, yet not exhaustive in terms of the aggregation of the misleading outpour from his brigade.
During the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) movement in 2019-2020, he stooped to the lowest by declaring that Muslim women were lured into the protest by “Biryani and five hundred rupees being offered” to them.
He also staked up false allegations of anti-India sloganeering at the protest sites, all of which were found false by fact-checking agencies.
Holding the portfolio under the BJP, Malviya peddles anti-Muslim propaganda and tries his best to present a sinister caricature of the Muslim community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he blamed the Tablighi Jamaat ( a Muslim religious organization) for corona outbursts in the Country. He accused Muslims of orchestrating an ‘Islamic insurrection’ by beating the health worker and doctors. Also, he peddled the falsehood that Muslims were purposefully sneezing, spitting, and coughing to spread the deadly virus.
Demeaning the eighteenth-century Indian Muslim ruler of the kingdom of Mysore and a prominent face of resistance against the British colonizers Tipu Sultan, he said,
“Tipu was a barbarian, who inflicted untold miseries on the Kodavas in Coorg, the Syrian Christians in Mangalore, the Catholics, the Konkanis, the Nairs of Malabar, the Mandyan Iyengars, who were hanged in hundreds on Diwali, due to which their descendants don’t celebrate the festival to this day. He broke innumerable temples and Churches and forcefully converted people to Islam. His sword had an inscription to launch jihad against the infidels.”