Indian Student Seeks GoI’s Support Amid Alleged Smear Campaign In LSE Elections

Indian Student Seeks GoI’s Support Amid Alleged Smear Campaign In LSE Elections

After alleging that a smear campaign targeted him during the union elections, the law student has now approached the Indian government for help.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 10:48 AM IST
article-image

Satyam Surana, an Indian student in the UK, is opposing what he alleges is a smear campaign against him during the student union elections at the London School of Economics (LSE) this year.

According to Surana, his campaign posters were defaced and messages purportedly containing ‘anti-government’ (Government of India) sentiments were circulated on the campus before the LSE elections to discredit him. He complained of a bigger conspiracy involving Indian citizens living in the UK and sought India’s help.

He has approached the Indian government’s ministries, including the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) complaining that he was targeted due to his pro-India views by ‘anti-India’ and ‘left-wing’ forces.

"These messages (allegedly circulated targeting him) included anti-government sentiments against India's territorial sovereignty, particularly concerning Kashmir, and targeted me for my stance against Khalistanis. I encountered two to three people who countered me with the slogan ‘free Khalistan’," Surana told The Free Press Journal (FPJ).

Surana, who hails from Pune, came to the limelight last year when he picked the tricolour off the ground when the Indian Embassy in London came under attack. A lawyer, who previously practised at the Bombay High Court, Surana is currently pursuing an LLM at LSE and is expected to complete his course later this year.

Expressing his frustration to the FPJ, Surana alleges that after reaching out to the LSE authorities he received generic responses. Now he has reached out to Indian government officials for their intervention.

“I have appealed to governmental authorities for intervention, reaching out to the High Commission, the Home Ministry, the External Affairs Ministry, the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, First Secretary of Education and (the) department which concerns the left-wing extremism in Home Ministry. My social media is again being dox with Khalistani elements. I am seeking governmental support," he stated.

Surana alleges that just 12 hours before the polls in the LSE on Mar 18-19, a campaign was launched targeting him, attempting to link him with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and labelling him as a ‘fascist’ to sabotage his campaign. 

What happened before the LSE polls?

Surana told the FPJ that elections were declared in February and in early March he filed the nomination for the post of general secretary. "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 the 16th, we saw that some posters were defaced. There were crosses on my face, it was written 'anyone but Satyam'. I was cancelled out," Surana alleged.

He also alleged that even after he and his team asked the LSE security team to check the CCTV recordings to find out those who damaged the posters, there was no progress and even the LSE Ethics Committee did nothing.

Surana claimed that messages were circulated across various student groups at LSE branding him as a BJP supporter and accusing him of being a ‘fascist’, ‘Islamophobe’ and ‘transphobe’. These messages also included screenshots of his social media posts where he had admired the BJP-led government in India.

Genuine campus issues in the campaign manifesto

Despite his campaign manifesto focusing solely on genuine campus issues such as the need for a grievance redressal portal and subsidised food, Surana alleged that his chances were derailed by this hate campaign. 

Involvement of ‘left-wing’ groups suspected

Surana believes that the smear campaign against him was planned by ‘left-wing groups’ targeting individuals associated with the right wing.

"The hate campaign against me started with the headline ‘Right Wing Organisation Out of Students’ Union’. It’s highly probable that those behind it adhere to left-wing ideology or are affiliated with radical left-wing groups active both on and off campus,” Surana alleged.

He contends that the ‘hate campaign’ was not merely personal but a well-planned effort to discredit him due to his perceived association with the BJP and his support for the Indian government’s policies.

Involvement of Indians

Surana alleged that Indian students in the UK were behind this campaign. 

"Most forwarded messages were from Indian citizens, including those on government scholarships, using Indian WhatsApp numbers. This necessitates government intervention to investigate any links with anti-India elements operating globally," he told the FPJ.

He continued, "I petitioned the government to probe the matter, identify those orchestrating these activities and safeguard against future occurrences. Foreign involvement, potentially driven by Western interests, cannot be discounted, necessitating a thorough investigation."

When asked about legal jurisdiction, Surana explained, "Only the Indian government has the authority to investigate offences committed outside India's borders by Indian citizens, as outlined in Section 4 of the IPC and Sections 2 and 13 of the UAPA."

When the FPJ asked him about specific allegations, Surana claimed, "If there is one person I would have named and identified it easily but it is a well-planned syndicate."

Concerning his safety and mental well-being, Surana expressed, "The threatening and aggressive messages I receive online, along with worries about my family's well-being, underscore the need for government inquiry. Addressing security and mental health issues is paramount to preventing future incidents."

The winner of the election was Tito Molokwu, with Advait Kuravi following closely behind.

This story is under development will update once we get officials' response.

RECENT STORIES

New Zealand’s New Work Visa Policy Attracts More International Students

New Zealand’s New Work Visa Policy Attracts More International Students

Madhya Pradesh: Constable Physical Test In September, Result Likely In December

Madhya Pradesh: Constable Physical Test In September, Result Likely In December

Study In South Korea: Explore Top 10 Universities For International Students

Study In South Korea: Explore Top 10 Universities For International Students

BHU 2024-25 Registration Process Starts For UG Course: Apply Now!

BHU 2024-25 Registration Process Starts For UG Course: Apply Now!

IBPS Clerk Recruitment 2024: Last Day to Apply! Direct Link Here

IBPS Clerk Recruitment 2024: Last Day to Apply! Direct Link Here