Angry twitterati: Indians watch US Capitol violence with dismay, strong feelings

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Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

By Rahul Kumar

New Delhi– The extraordinary situation that engulfed Washington after thousands of President Donald Trumps supporters, egged on by his speech, rioted in the US Capitol, made the day for the Twitterati. The formal, boring, administrative capital city of the US turned into a spectacle for a day as mobs indulged in rioting in the citadel of democracy.

Amidst a global shock and dismay at the ungainly scenes, Twitter erupted with myriad reactions at the violent conduct Trump’s supporters displayed in the Capitol building – the temple of democracy. India Narrative collects reactions of prominent Indians both in the US and India.

Indian-American Republican leader Pramila Jayapal, who was caught in the melee inside the Capitol, told the media that the members of the Congress had to put on gas masks and drop to the floor.

She narrated the atmosphere of fear that engulfed the lawmakers to the American media. In her tweets she made it clear that Trump has to resign. She invoked actions by Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and hold Trump responsible for the assault.

Similarly, Ro Khanna, tweeted his prayers for the injured people. His tweets made it clear that Trump had been rejected by the people, by the courts and also in the elections. He added vehemently in his tweets that Trump was also rejected by: “his party’s senate leader & VP. Democracy is still sacred for Americans. That spirit will overcome today’s violence. Prayers for the injured.”

Ami Bera, Indian-origin doctor and member of Congress, too renounced the violence that had taken over the Capitol. He assured his constituents: “My staff and I are safe. The storming of the US Capitol is dangerous and disgusting and needs to stop, immediately.”

Vinod Khosla, technology guru and entrepreneur, retweeted former US President Barack Obama’s complete statement on the violence. He also retweeted another statement which said: “… And we should all agree to not work with Trump and his supporters, even if that is expensive personally.”

One of the most devastating tweets has come from author and publisher, Anand Giridharadas, who said: “What we’re witnessing in the Senate is what we saw in much media coverage in the Trump years: processing extraordinary events through ordinary rituals, language, and formats unwittingly normalizes them. The president just incited a terrorist attack on democracy. Speak like it.”

Dinyar Patel, Assistant Professor (South Asian History) at SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, associated with the Mittal Institute at Harvard, hit out at the equivalences. Patel said: “Some false comparisons. In HK, Kyrgyzstan, and Indonesia, protesters were fighting for democracy. In DC yesterday, bigots and conspiracy theorists were pushing the agenda of a megalomaniac who lost the popular vote twice.”

Vindu Goel, Emerging platforms editor for The New York Times, kept a flurry of retweets from prominent media institutions on the developing situation. He also highlighted through a media article how lawmaker Derrick Evans, from West Virginia, was among the mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol.

Nidhi Razdan, Associate Professor of journalism at Harvard University, too retweeted prominent Twitterati and media organisations for the latest developments. Among her prominent retweets was one by Reuters that played a video statement by US Vice President, Mike Pence, condemning the violence by Trump supporters in an attempt to block certification of the presidential election results.

Parry Ravindranathan, global media executive and Angel Investor, kept his Twitter account alive with the developing situation. One of his prominent retweets emphasised on the stunning fact that Republican leaders were veering round to the view that Trump should be removed from office before his term ends. “Four of them called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, and two others said the President should be impeached,” showing how the violence in the Parliament has divided the party itself.

Indians have been keeping a close watch on the extraordinary events unfolding in the US as people have been comparing and drawing satisfaction the images from Capitol Hill to those of other mob attacks in other countries.

The spotting of an Indian flag outside the Capitol did not go unnoticed.

It was made fun of by stand-up comic Vir Das. In his usual witty style, he said: “Dear random Indian dude waving Indian flag at the #CapitolRiots. Every large crowd IS NOT A CRICKET MATCH!”

Politician Priyanka Chaturvedi too tweeted her objection: “Whoever is waving this Indian flag should feel ashamed. Don’t use our tricolour to participate in such violent & criminal acts in another country.”

Many social media users have expressed their bitter feelings that the US forces were lenient on the rioters as they were white. People were wondering if the police would have used tear gas or force to break up the crowd if it were not white.

Twitter handle, Asian in America, @Asian_Amerikkka, managed by “a brown multicultural Asian intersectional feminist immigrant…” retweeted a video saying: “Super nice of that cop to help a MAGA terrorist down the steps of the Capitol.” (IANS)

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