The relations between India and Kuwait have been going on for centuries. India is one of Kuwait’s top trading partners. Lakhs of Indian expatriates in Kuwait are getting employment not only in Kuwait. Rather, the foreign exchange of billions of dollars sent by them is also contributing significantly to the development of India. During the financial year 2019-20, Kuwait was the 10th largest oil supplier to India. Which met about 3.8 percent of India’s energy needs. Also, India’s total bilateral trade with Kuwait during this period was US$ 10.86 billion. But since the last few years, there is a continuous anti-India atmosphere in Kuwait.
Recently, there was a huge protest against India in Gulf countries, including Kuwait, regarding the Hijab controversy that surfaced in Karnataka, India. Hashtags like #Expel_Indian_Ambassador, #Boycott_Hindu_Products, #طرد_السفير_الهندي and #Indian_ambassador_ko_expelling were used on Twitter to expel the Indian Ambassador from Kuwait. There was also a demand to ban the entry of BJP leaders into Kuwait’s Parliament in Kuwait.
The dubious role of Pakistan was also seen in this entire operation. Being an Islamic country, nuclear-armed and a founding member of the OIC, Pakistan has a special relationship with the Middle East and Arab countries. Which he has been using against India. But now the situation has completely changed. Pakistan did not get the support of Arab countries against India on various issues including Kashmir which he had received before. In such a situation, now he is instigating the people of Arab countries against India. For this, he has made communal politics against Muslims in India his weapon. He is making full use of activists, media houses, and social media from Gulf countries.
The hijab controversy started in the state in January 2022 after six Muslim girls wearing hijab were denied admission to the Government PU College in Udupi, Karnataka. A local BJP leader allegedly involved in the College Development Committee (CDC) had demanded a hijab ban in the college. Muslim girl students protested against the order of the college stating that wearing a hijab is their fundamental right. Which immediately spread throughout the state. Saffron organizations also demonstrated wearing saffron gamchas on the college campus in protest against the protest of Muslim girl students. Meanwhile, at a degree college in Mandya district, students wearing saffron gamchas, wearing hijab, misbehaved with Muskan Khan, a second-year student of college I B.Com, while raising slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’. However, the Karnataka High Court in its judgment did not consider wearing the hijab as a compulsory religious practice of Islam. Now the girl students have challenged the decision of the Karnataka High Court in the Supreme Court.
Anti-India campaign in Kuwait
Anti-India campaigns in Arab countries, including Kuwait, have been going on since before the hijab controversy. Earlier, the hashtags #IndianMuslimsUnderAttack, #الهند_تقتل_المسلمين, #مقاطعه_المنتجات_الهنديه, #مقاطعه_المنتجاتات_امين,It can be seen in the tweet made with these hashtags that the Modi government was held responsible for the Assam riots. It was also accused of killing Muslims on the basis of religion.
The hijab controversy has added fuel to the fire in the ongoing anti-India campaign in Kuwait. In protest against this, protests were seen against India in Kuwait from the road to the Parliament. Hundreds of Kuwaiti women protest outside the Indian Embassy in Kuwait City. Along with this, hashtags like #Expel_Indian_Ambassador, #Boycott_Hindu_Products, #طرد_السفير_الهندي, #Indian_ambassador_ko_expelling etc. were run on Twitter.
The purpose behind these hashtags was to tell Kuwaitis that Muslim women are being targeted by Hindutvaists in India. Muslim women are not even allowed to wear hijab in India. The tweet with these hashtags also demanded the expulsion of Indian Hindus from Kuwait and Indian Hindus from all Gulf countries and even to boycott India’s products.
Most of the tweets made under #Expel_Indian_Ambassador are of inflammatory speeches given by Hindutva leaders against Muslims. Referring to the provocative speeches of Hindutva leaders, an attempt has been made to tell that the Modi government in India has given free freedom to Hindutvawadis to oppress Muslims.
The tweets made under these hashtags have sharply criticized the communal politics taking place in India. Simultaneously, a complete boycott of Indian products was emphasized to show solidarity with the Muslims in India.
رد_السفير_الهندي in Hindi means expulsion of the Indian ambassador. Tweets with this hashtag have shown solidarity with Indian Muslims over the greater hijab controversy. Along with this, wearing hijab has been told as its right.
The pattern of all the tweets made under this hashtag is also similar to the tweet done by other hashtags. In these tweets made in Arabic language, tweets related to atrocities on Muslims in India, boycott of Indian products, protest against the ban on hijab etc.
Accounts that interact with the hashtag
Use of hashtags
Throughout the Hijab controversy, the hashtags #طردالسفيرالهندي, #Indian_Ambassador_Ko_Expelling, #Expel_Indian_Ambassador, #Boycott_Hindu_Products, #Indian_Muslim, etc. were mostly used in Kuwait.
Given below is the timeline for the creation of over 3000 accounts that interacted with the hashtag. The graph shows that the frequency of creation of these accounts increased in September 2019 and the maximum number of accounts were created in August of 2021.
Below is a wordcloud of the words that were used with the hashtag. It is clearly shown in wordcloud that some of the words that were used the maximum number of times were “Muslim”, “Sisters”, “Hindu”, “Product”, “boycott”, “Indian”, “Extremist”, etc. Are included.
User on the world map
Below is a map of the world showing the locations of all users who participated in the hashtag. It has been observed that most of the tweeting users were from India and then Saudi Arabia. More than 380 users were from India and more than 370 were from Saudi Arabia. This was followed by 255 from Kuwait, 175 from Pakistan and 129 from Egypt respectively.
Indian accounts that took part in the hashtag
This account is of Kuwaiti lawyer Mezbel Al Sharika. He has made the issue of Hindutva’s atrocities on Muslims in India as a major issue in Kuwait for the past several years. He has made a large number of tweets on Twitter about Babri Masjid, Kashmir, Islamophobia in India, Hijab etc. Recently, he was also seen in a direct mob with the Ambassador of India to Kuwait over the hijab controversy on Twitter.
Below is a wordcloud of the words used in the tweets by Al Shariqa. The words that were heavily used are “India”, “Kuwait” and “Muslim”.
The engagement graph shows that Al Sharika’s account was mostly busy. He regularly posts on Twitter.
The pie-chart below shows that @MJALSHRIKA retweeted over 51%. 27.6% of tweets and 20.8% of replies can be seen in their timeline.
Below is a list of those hashtags. Mostly used by @MJALSHRIKA.
Below is a graph showing the users mentioned most times by @MJALSHRIKA.
Pakistan has waged a huge campaign of propaganda against India through its agents in Arab countries including Kuwait. Which continues from social media to Parliament. Prominent people of Arab countries like Al Sharika are involved in this campaign. Which is changing India’s friendly image in Arab countries to anti-Muslim image. To a large extent, the communal politics of Hindutvavadis against Muslims in India is also responsible for this. Who has given Pakistan an opportunity to defame India by sitting. The Government of India should pay more immediate attention to this.