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Indian Student Alleges Hate Campaign Against Him At Leading London University

Satyam Surana, an Indian student who gained attention for his act of courage in picking up the tricolour from the road amidst an attack on the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom by extremist

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'They Can't Digest Our...': Indian Student Alleges Hate Campaign Against Him At Leading London University
‘They Can’t Digest Our…’: Indian Student Alleges Hate Campaign Against Him At Leading London University

Satyam Surana, an Indian student who gained attention for his act of courage in picking up the tricolour from the road amidst an attack on the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom by extremist elements last year, is now facing allegations of hate and smear campaigns during the student union elections at the London School of Economics. Satyam has raised concerns about a ‘well-planned’ campaign that emerged just 12 hours before the voting, attempting to associate him with the Bharatiya Janata Party and labeling him as a ‘fascist’ in an effort to sabotage his campaign.

Hailing from Pune, Satyam had previously practiced at the Bombay High Court and is currently pursuing an LLM at the London School of Economics, expected to complete his course later this year. The controversy arose when radical elements took screenshots of Satyam’s social media posts, particularly where he had expressed admiration for the BJP government. However, these posts were twisted and used to portray him in a negative light as a ‘fascist’.

Despite his genuine intentions, Satyam found himself at the center of a targeted misinformation campaign that aimed to tarnish his reputation and undermine his candidacy.

Narrating his ordeal to news agency ANI, Satyam said, “From 14-15th of March, we noticed that my posters were being ripped off, torn. We complained to the authorities. After we replaced our posters, on 16th, we saw that some posters were defaced. There were crosses on my face, it was written ‘anyone but Satyam’. I was cancelled out.”

“On 17th afternoon, there were messages in all groups of LSE. Indian groups, law school groups. The messages claimed, ‘This Satyam Surana is a BJP supporter, he is a fascist person, an Islamophobe, transphobe’. The messages were so seditious and contentious of the Indian government and the current establishment,” he added.

He also said that his manifesto had no political points, but merely contained the genuine issues on campus. Even though, he initially got overwhelming support, this hate campaign derailed his chances.

He further said that he had a very well written and well-drafted manifesto, which was not at all political.  “But, out of the three people, it was only me who was targeted randomly. When these messages started coming, my entire team was shocked, we were in a dilemma, the entire moral conscience of the team was shattered,” he added.

However, Satyam was not able to go past the finish line despite gathering support in the initial phase of the campaign. He believes that the way his campaign was targeted and hampered it hurt his goodwill.

He further said that this campaign did have a huge impact on him and his life at the campus, even after the elections were over. But, he also acknowledged that he did get support from many people who stood by him in this hour.

Similar claims made by other Indians

Karan Kataria, who is from Haryana and is pursuing a postgraduate degree in law at London university, said he was motivated by his peers to contest for the post of general secretary of the LSE Students’ Union (LSESU). However, he was disqualified last week over what he believes are baseless allegations, reported news agency PTI. He was not given a chance to fully state his case, Kataria claimed.

“Unfortunately, some individuals could not bear to see an Indian-Hindu leading the LSESU and resorted to vilifying my character and very identity in what was clearly in line with the alarming cancel culture which is uprooting our social communities,” he said.

Kataria, 22, comes from a middle-class farming background and describes himself as a first-generation university-level graduate in his family.

(With inputs from agencies)




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