The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s much-acclaimed social media campaigns are increasingly falling victim to embarrassing errors.
On Friday, senior government managers rushed to control the damage after the official handle of Digital India tweeted a poem that asked the army to kill Kashmiris.
The timing of the goof-up couldn’t have been worse — when the Valley has been on the boil for the last two months with clashes between security forces and Kashmiris.
The tweet, which said the army should not stop firing till all Kashmiris come to the city centre and sing the national anthem, was removed quickly but the damage was done.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ankit Lal tweeted, “Govt verified handle @_DigitalIndia finds poem calling fr mass murder of Kashmiris ‘Height of Patriotism’.”
This is not the first time when the government faced a backlash on social media for tweets that went out without proper verification or cross-check.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aerial survey of flood-hit Chennai was overshadowed by a morphed photo tweeted by none other than the government’s publicity arm — Press Information Bureau.
In the morphed photo, submerged houses could be seen in an unusual clarity, something missing from other pictures of the same tour.
Forty-eight hours before the country celebrated its Independence Day this year, a culture ministry video went viral as Twitteratis pointed out that it featured Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder combat jets instead of Indian air force planes.
The animated segment at the start of the 1.40-minute video showed two JF-17s, one on either side of a stylised symbol commemorating 70 years of the country’s independence and adorned with the Tricolour.
Two months ago, Startup India’s Twitter account had retweeted comments against Pakistan and mediapersons. Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman swiftly blamed the private agency that was managing the account.
“The retweets were done by an employee of the agency hired by the department of industrial policy and promotion. The person assigned by the agency for this particular job is not decided by the department and is the sole prerogative of the agency,” she then said.
When noted novelist Mahasweta Devi died on July 28, foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj quickly put out a tweet mourning her death. But she became the target of social media as she attributed someone else’s books to Devi.
Even the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was no stranger to such mistakes.
In January 2010, an Indian government advertisement featured former Pakistan Air Force chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed alongside the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and cricketer Kapil Dev.