Meet the Crazy Minds Behind #CrueltyFreeChristmas
Christmas is here. But someone other than Santa Claus is working tirelessly this holiday season – right-wing Indian trolls, or since it is Christmas, Grinches. The hashtag #CrueltyFreeChristmas gives logic a miss and comes up with some of the most ridiculous reasons for hating Christmas in India, from causing pollution from burning candles to cruelty to reindeer. Yes, reindeer.
Some tweets were so hilarious that it made our day.
Twitter handles like @The Saffron Tweeter asked people to stop spending money on Christmas and donate it to the poor instead. This isn’t a bad suggestion but then why just Christmas? Shouldn’t the same logic hold for other festivals as well?
Then there were calls to stop cutting trees and slaughtering animals. The other hashtags that accompanied #CrueltyFreeChristmas were #HinduDeniedEquality and #HindusUnite, which surprisingly had nothing to do with Christmas.
A tweet on cutting trees on Christmas by BJP’s former national IT Cell convener Vinit Goenka got a few laughs.
The Twitter page Haindava Keralam tweeted a picture of beef fry with this caption, “Thousands of cattle are slaughtered in Kerala during X’mas time.” But the tweet seemed to have been counter-productive as it ended up provoking beef cravings among many Twitter users.
Some right-wingers went to the extent of saying that burning candles causes pollution and that electronic toys that are gifted during Christmas have batteries that cannot be recycled.
The decked-up streets and malls also seemed to anger the trolls, who said it is unfair to “waste” electricity when a lot of villages in India go without power.
While the call to stop bursting firecrackers did make sense, as it does during any festival, the claims of “millions” of trees being cut and turkeys being roasted, fell flat. The fact is, most Indians who celebrate Christmas go for synthetic trees. And speaking of cruelty to animals, how often have you seen turkeys being roasted in India? Or reindeer pulling Santa’s sled?
Many Twitter users countered the campaign by providing data about attacks on Christians in India. The gist of comebacks was that if right-wing animal lovers were so concerned about cruelty, churches wouldn’t be burned down and minorities wouldn’t be attacked.
Open Doors, an anti-persecution Christian charity, puts India at number 11 on their “World Watch List” of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Around Christmas, the attacks on churches and religious processions have often gone up.
In 2014, just a few months after Narendra Modi became the prime minister, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad told missionary schools in Bastar, Chhattisgarh not to allow Santa Claus to distribute chocolates to school kids.
In December 2017, radical Hindu groups allegedly assaulted a group of carol singers and set their empty car on fire in Madhya Pradesh.
Rather than battling cruelty, the hashtag seems to be aimed at badgering Christians by targeting an important festival of a religious minority. The idea is also to make the majority community feel guilty about taking part in the festival.
And that’s why Twitter and the rest of the country should observe a minute of silence for those who dedicated time and energy to such a pointless cause.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”