Sri Lankan Twitter has been quick to call out Indian media and politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for using the series of blasts in the island nation as “election fodder.”
Eight different blasts struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, 21 April, leaving at least 290 people dead and 500 injured. At least five Indians have also been killed in these blasts.
Almost 24 hours after the blasts, the Sri Lankan government held local Jihadist group National Thowheed Jamath responsible for the attack.
How quickly Sri Lanka's tragedy became India's election fodder is shocking. Our country is in grief and their media and (BJP) politicians aren't helping
— Indi Samarajiva (@indica) April 21, 2019
Shocked and disappointed to note Indian media and certain Indian politicians using Sri Lanka's tragedy for their own political advantage. #EasterSundayAttackLK
— Aruni Abeyesundere (@aruni_t) April 21, 2019
Pointing to PM Modi’s election rally later the same day, Sri Lanka’s Twitter users called it “political opportunism.” Soon after condoling the deaths, the prime minister appealed to people to vote for BJP’s lotus in order to fight terrorism.
There’s political opportunism.
And then there’s this pic.twitter.com/5KmR6edxER
— Gehan Gunatilleke (@GehanDG) April 21, 2019
‘Indian Media Already Identifying Muslims’
The Sri Lankan government has not named a suspect, nor identified any of them by religion as till 22 April noon. However, a section of Indian media was quick to identify some of the terror groups, on 21 April itself.
Indian journalist Shreya Dhoundial pointed that Sri Lankan media refraining from speculating did not deter the Indian media.
Every voice coming out of #SriLanka including media refusing to speculate on whether the 6 blasts are an ISIS plot or the doing of Buddhist Extremists or whether Suicide Bombers were involved.
Ofcourse that isn't detering the Indian Media from kite flying.
— Shreya Dhoundial (@shreyadhoundial) April 21, 2019
Just google "Sri Lanka" and compare the reports of Indian Media vs international media..Sri Lanka government is still investigating but Indian media has already linked the attack to Muslim organizations in India @mehdirhasan @yvonneridley @IlhanMN @AJEnglish @RanaAyyub
— Anis Ahmed (@AnisPFI) April 22, 2019
‘Don’t Trust Indian Media’
9/9. I would also be very careful using certain media sources out of India, random Facebook pages, and even some Sri Lankan media outlets and government officials as the sole source of info.
— Amarnath Amarasingam (@AmarAmarasingam) April 21, 2019
Alert – a FB post by a Sri Lankan lawyer, has warned that posts blaming Islamic terrorists for the #srilankablasts are being circulated without any basis as of now. Sri Lankan authorities haven't yet identified the perpetrators. Sharing the imp post while retaining their privacy pic.twitter.com/eKr5QX06jy
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) April 21, 2019
Is This Kind of Restraint Good or Bad?
Not just showing restraint in naming the suspects, the government has also blocked social media platforms in the country. NetBlocks observatory told the Associated Press that it detected an intentional blackout of popular services including Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber.
The defence ministry said the shutdown would extend until the government concludes its investigation into the bomb blasts that rocked churches, luxury hotels and other sites.
While some claimed that such a move was essential for preventing further violence, others thought it was a “bad idea.”
The steps Sri Lanka has taken—blocking social media, imposing curfew and withholding information on the group behind the terror strikes—may seem extraordinary. But they are essential to prevent the outbreak of anti-Muslim violence, given previous attacks on Muslim shops and homes
— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) April 22, 2019
In response to terrible attack in Sri Lanka, government blocks social media +messaging apps.
Understandable move perhaps, but bad idea.
— Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (@rasmus_kleis) April 21, 2019
The social media curfew on Sri Lanka raises some really interesting questions. Is it wise or authoritarian? What does it tell us about social media today? Will the practice of temporary bans spread to other countries and situations? https://t.co/UmtS5WWPsc
— Thomas Hegghammer (@Hegghammer) April 21, 2019
Source: The Quint