Indian student alleges hate campaign at London School of Economics
Courtesy: X/@SatyamSurana

Indian student alleges hate campaign at London School of Economics

Satyam Surana, the Indian student who came to the limelight for bravely retrieving the Tricolour amidst an attack on the Indian High Commission in the UK by extremists last year, is now speaking out against alleged hate and smear campaigns targeted at him during this year's student union elections at the London School of Economics.

Satyam has claimed that, mere hours before voting commenced, a very 'well-planned' campaign was initiated against him. He asserts that this campaign sought to associate him with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and labelled him a 'fascist,' with the apparent intention of inciting a boycott against him and his electoral bid.

The Pune-born student has also practiced at the Bombay High Court for some months and is pursuing an LLM at the LSE, with his course ending later this year.

Elaborating on the whole set of incidents, he said that the LSE elections were declared in February and early March and he filed the nomination for the post of general secretary.

"From March 14 to 15, 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," Satyam told ANI.

"On the 17th afternoon, there were messages in all groups of LSE. Indian groups, law school groups. The messages claimed, 'This Satyam Surana is a BJP supporter, he is a fascist person, an Islamophobe, a transphobe'. The messages were so seditious and contentious of the Indian government and the current establishment," he added.

"With my entire team, I went through the entire campus. We were reaching out across departments and explaining our policies. I had a very well-written and well-drafted manifesto, which was not at all political. It said how things need improvement at LSE, how there is a need of a grievance redressal portal, having subsidised food on campus. We were getting support and people were saying that they would vote for me," Satyam said.

"But, out of the three people, it was only me who was targeted randomly. When these messages started coming, my entire team was shocked, we were in a dilemma, and the entire moral conscience of the team was shattered," he added.

Recalling the episode from the Indian High Commission last year, Satyam said, "Somewhere around early October, I was in the news because I picked up the national flag outside the Indian High Commission among the Khalistani protestors. I was blessed to receive media coverage. I was interviewed by national media channels."

He further said that he was targeted for calling Khalistanis as 'terrorists' in one of his posts.

"See, this is my country. I will always be an advocate for my country. How is Indian politics relevant to the student union elections in the UK? My views and endorsements of my government is entirely my opinion," Satyam added.

The Indian student said that his photograph with Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis -- which was clicked when he was invited by Fadnavis during his India visit -- was used by the extremist elements to claim that he is linked to the BJP.

He further pointed out that since the whole smear campaign against him was targeting the 'right wing, Satyam believes that the campaign was planned by 'left-wing' groups.

"I was called a Neo-Nazi supporter, Right Wing, out of campus. See, when the message heading was circulated as the right wing out of campus, it is very clear that the campaign was dictated and planned by the left wing," he said.

On being asked if the hate campaign against him was started by an Indian person or a foreigner, Satyam said that the first message he received was from an Indian and most of those involved in this campaign were Indians.

He added that this was not a random or personal campaign, but a "well-planned hate and toolkit campaign" involving people who are politically motivated against the incumbent BJP government in India..

"The people of the international community are not aware of what is going on in India. Every international person is looking up to India and the current Prime Minister as a stalwart, legendary politician. Our Prime Minister has the highest approval rating in the entire world, we have shown what we can do during COVID, and we are emerging as the third largest economy. But, sadly, these groups who can't digest this fact are spreading not misinformation, but disinformation," Satyam said.

However, Satyam was not able to go past the finish line despite gathering support in the initial phase of the campaign. He believes that the way his campaign was targeted and hampered it hurt his goodwill.

He further said that this campaign did have a huge impact on him and his life at the campus, even after the elections were over. But, he also acknowledged that he did get support from many people who stood by him in this hour.

Satyam stated that the point in the episode that hurts him the most is the fact that the majority of people who carried out the hate campaign against him were actually Indians.

"The only thing that hurts is that these were our fellow Indian students who circulated these messages and questioned the sovereignty of India. How shameless can people be to forward these messages? I can't believe Indian students are forwarding the messages and hampering the sovereignty and integrity of our country," he added.


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