Last Updated: March 27, 2024, 08:54 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

A Pune-born Indian student, known for his activism and patriotism, Satyam's journey took a tumultuous turn as he faced a barrage of accusations aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

A Pune-born Indian student, known for his activism and patriotism, Satyam’s journey took a tumultuous turn as he faced a barrage of accusations aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

Indian student Satyam Surana alleges hate campaign during London School of Economics elections, citing smear tactics linking him to BJP

An Indian studying in the United Kingdom found himself ensnared in a web of slander during the student union elections at the London School of Economics (LSE) for supporting the development of “Bharat” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pune-born Satyam Surana last year came into the spotlight when he defiantly picked up the tricolour from the road during an attack at the Indian High Commission by extremist elements. In a series of social media posts on March 26, Satyam said he was targeted for taking a pro-India position on issues like terrorism and Ram mandir, during the LSE student polls.

Called ‘fascist and worse’

Satyam’s ordeal began when his campaign posters for the position of  General Secretary were defaced and torn. Recalling the series of events, he revealed, “There were crosses on my face, it was written ‘anyone but Satyam’. I was cancelled out.” As the election fervour heightened, Satyam said the smear campaign against him also increased. Messages flooded LSE groups, branding him as a ‘BJP supporter,’ ‘fascist,’ and worse,” he told news agency ANI, adding, that the messages were “seditious and contentious of the Indian government.”

Satyam said that his social media presence became a battleground, with innocuous posts twisted to fit a nefarious agenda. Satyam, disheartened by the vicious attacks, remarked, “My posts were used with a malicious agenda to call me a ‘fascist.’” Despite his manifesto focusing solely on campus improvements, Satyam found himself unfairly targeted.

“When these messages started coming, my entire team was shocked, we were in a dilemma,” he confessed, revealing the toll the hate campaign took on his morale. Satyam’s past activism, including his brave act of picking up the national flag amidst Khalistani protestors, became ammunition for his detractors. “I was targeted for calling Khalistanis as ‘terrorists’ in one of my posts,” he stated, highlighting how his patriotism was twisted into an indictment.

‘Left-wing campaign’

Even his association with dignitaries like Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis became fodder for malicious propaganda. Satyam decried, “My photograph with Mr. Fadnavis was used to claim that I am linked to the BJP.” Throughout the ordeal, Satyam remained resolute, attributing the smear campaign to political motives. “The campaign was dictated and planned by the left wing,” he asserted, pointing fingers at those threatened by his nationalist stance.

“Ideological Hijacking of Educational Institutions by the LEFT is something I’ve always spoken against! The youth is the easiest target to brainwash & deviate from the path of Truth! Rashmi Samant & Karan Kataria (other Indian students) have fought battles against it! I am one more person in this long battle,” Satyam said in one of his posts on X.

Reflecting on the broader implications of the incident, Satyam said, “Every international person is looking up to India and looking up to the current Prime Minister as a stalwart legendary politician.” He condemned the dissemination of misinformation aimed at undermining India’s progress under PM Modi. Despite the setbacks, Satyam’s spirit remains unbroken. He draws strength from the support he received, acknowledging, “I did get support from many people who stood by me in this hour.”



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