Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gifted his stole to one of his followers, known for being a Twitter troll and allegedly doctoring video that sent the former JNU Students’ Union leader, Kanhaiya Kumar to jail earlier last year.
Modi was in Coimbatore on 24 February to unveil a 112-foot Adiyogi face at the Isha Yoga centre. The prime minister had a colourful stole with Lord Shiva’s image on it around his neck.
Shilpi Tewari, a former aide of Union Minister Smriti Irani, wrote on Twitter by tagging Modi that she wanted the stole worn by the prime minister.
Tewari wrote, “I WANT that stole of @narendramodi!! (sic)”
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) February 24, 2017
Only a day later, Modi obliged by getting the stole delivered to her by taking the printout of her tweet and personally signing it.
An ecstatic Tewari announced on Twitter, “PM
@narendramodi sent me this blessing because I had tweeted yesterday that I want this stole. Am I dreaming??”
In her next tweet, Tewari desperately sought to term the development as an extraordinary act of generosity by the prime minister, who according to her, ‘listens to your voices.’
She wrote, “Along with the stole came this signed paper .. can you imagine a PM who listens to your voices and takes time to respond & personalise !!”
Along with the stole came this signed paper .. can you imagine a PM who listens to your voices and takes time to respond & personalise !! pic.twitter.com/epIuftIpfz
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) February 25, 2017
A forensic report last year had revealed that Tewari was responsible for allegedly doctoring videos that accused the JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar of making anti-India slogans.
India Today reported that the ‘Forensic Audio, Video, Authentication Report’ found two files to be ‘problematic.’
The first video was named as Q1 and titled as ‘Kanhaiya caught shouting anti-India slogans.’ This clip reportedly came from YouTue and was later used by several news channels.
Second video, named as Q2, according to India Today, was picked up from a URL address ‘shilpitewari.’
There were also allegations in the past that because of Tewari’s proximity to Irani, the HRD Ministry had relaxed the rules to employ her as a consultant ‘at a fee of Rs 35,000 per month.’ (See the meeting note below).
More recently, a book by journalist Swati Chaturvedi extensively dealt with Tewari’s alleged role in doctoring the questionable video against Kanhaiya.
Swati wrote, “The video, as mentioned earlier, was allegedly doctored by Shilpi Tewari, close aide of then HRD Minister, Smriti Irani. Tewari had even assisted Irani during the Amethi campaign.”
In November 2013, India Today carried a lead piece under the headline ‘Rise of the Cyber Hindu’ with the article dwelling on the new phenomenon called Internet Hindu.
Tewari found prominent coverage in the article as she claimed that it was her and like-minded people’s efforts that were responsible in helping Modi win the prime ministerial candidature within the BJP.
“We have not just supported his elevation, we have made it happen,” she had flaunted.
The India Today article had written, “But the principal complaint against members of this group is how they troll Congress supporters, Congress leaders, and journalists who they believe are all part of some amorphous pro-Government ‘paid media’ guild. They speak in a code language that borders on the offensive and often resort to abuse when pushed into a corner.
“It’s not that Congress supporters don’t get abusive or abrasive in this general lowering of standards of political discourse on social media. A Congress member, Amaresh Misra, had gone to the extent of threatening Shilpi Tewari in March with dire consequences in the worst possible language. By and large, however, the Congress’s radical voices get submerged by the sheer amplitude and volume of the BJP-supporting trolls.”
The latest act by Prime Minister Modi would further irk his critics, who’ve long accused him of promoting troll culture on social media platforms by following some of the most vicious individuals.
Earlier this month, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien had launched a tirade against Modi in the Rajya Sabha, maintaining he was following on Twitter certain trolls who write “venemous, misogynist” stuff besides issuing “murdereous threats.”
During the Question Hour, O’Brien had said, “There are certain trolls on digital media who broadcast venemous messages, misogynist stuff and murderous threats on social media. The Prime Minister is following certain unknown people on digital media who broadcast such stuff, though Prime Minister is not writing anything wrong.”