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The Enemy Within: India's War on Itself

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by Inactive, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Siachen Handout: Bartering India’s Security?

    August 2012 Kunal Verma & MG Devasahayam

    THE 50TH anniversary of the 1962 Sino-Indian War has evoked a feeling of anger–not so much at the Chinese, but towards our own leadership that failed the country in the most shocking manner. Amidst the groundswell of emotion that swept through the print and electronic media, the three Service Chiefs and the Defence Minister finally lined up and saluted the dead!

    Since Independence, the Indian soldier has been called upon time and again to risk his life for cleaning-up the mess heaped by our blundering ‘civilian leadership’. Examples are endless: ceasefire in 1949 when Indian troops were poised to regain the whole of Jammu and Kashmir; the Tashkent Agreement ‘returning’ to Pakistan vital posts like Haji Pir and Black Rock in Kargil in 1965; repatriation of 93,000 POWs to Pakistan in 1971 without ensuring the return of our own men (some of whom are still languishing in Pakistani jails). The list can be quite exhaustive. Now, ironically, as we mourn our dead in NEFA and Ladakh, the Government is poised to get into another deep mess. Quite frankly, if the latest PMO initiative on the so-called demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier is pushed through, it could well be a real quagmire!

    Next to its obsession with Kashmir since 1947, Siachen has been the biggest bone that is stuck in Pakistan’s throat since it ‘lost’ the glacier to the Indian Army in 1984. For years, talks between the two countries have been held on the issue and after the Kargil War in 1999, the situation on the ground had more or less stabilised itself. Then most incredibly, since November 2011, rumours of an impending ‘settlement’ on Siachen began to surface. Then odd articles began to appear in the media, mainly questioning the wisdom of having gone into the area in 1984, while focusing on the expense factor–both material and in terms of human lives–always implying that India was sitting on a wasteland that had little or no strategic value.

    All this time, meetings between Indian and Pakistani Track II members were indeed being held to discuss various confidence building measures, among which Siachen was a key issue. Dubai (September 2011), Bangkok (February), Chiang Mai (April) and Palo Alto (July) preceded the Lahore meeting on September 23-25, where a formal agreement to demilitarise Siachen was inked. That the Lahore delegation was acting on a pre-determined brief was fairly obvious, for the handshake was done despite the strong reservations expressed by certain key members of the delegation.

    The Lahore agreement was virtually kept under wraps, but the Atlantic Council of Canada that acted as a ‘peace-broker’ on Siachen let the cat out of the bag. The composition of the Indian delegation was, to put it mildly, incongruous–for despite an impressive array of ranks (including a retired Air Chief), none of the Army officers had ever served in the region. The Pakistani side, on the contrary, was led by General Jehangir Karamat, a former Army Chief, who understands the strategic implications of the Siachen region.

    Says General V K Singh, India’s Army Chief till recently: “Let us first be very clear as to who is asking for this so-called demilitarisation. The Pakistanis are not on the Siachen glacier, but are west of the Saltoro Range. Contrary to what they want their own people to believe, they have a zero presence in Siachen. I wonder if demilitarisation will also result in Pakistan withdrawing from Baltistan, pulling back to the west towards the Karakoram Highway? Until recently, they had even refused to accept the AGPL for verification of who is where. It is ludicrous that in such circumstances we are talking of demilitarisation and withdrawal. Our troops are well-established and administratively well-off, so what is the rational to pull them out of the area?”

    Lt General PC Katoch, a former commander of the Siachen Brigade adds: “For decades, India has always distrusted the Atlantic Council, which is perceived to be in bed with the Pakistani military. In this arrangement, Pakistan has grabbed the strategic opportunity to attain all its key goals. It is surmised that the Prime Minister is aiming for a Nobel Peace Prize to recover the legitimacy his Government has lost after a succession of scandals.”

    Post the Shimla Agreement in 1972, delineation of the line of control (LC) between India and Pakistan extended up to NJ 9842. Beyond this, the two sides agreed that the LC would run ‘thenceforth north’. This clearly implied that the boundary would follow the ridgeline to the north along the Saltoro, but subsequently both Pakistani and USAF maps drew a lateral line from NJ 9842 directly to the KK Pass, which implied that the area belonged to Pakistan. A subsequent mountaineering expedition to Siachen found plenty of evidence of activity east of the Saltoro. Given the extreme conditions in what was at that time often referred to as the ‘third pole’, the Indian Army pulled off one of the most innovative and daring operations by pre-empting the Pakistani Army, which was rushing to occupy the heights that would dominate the glacier.

    Having been beaten at their own game (as acknowledged by President Parvez Musharaff in his book), the Pakistani Army subsequently succeeded in establishing a foothold on the 22,143 feet Qaid-e-Azam post, its only real significant position on the Saltoro at that time. In 1987, in what surely must rank as one of the most incredible military operations, men from 8 JAK LI pulled off the near impossible and wrested it from Pakistan. Re-named ‘Bana Top’ after Subedar Bana Singh, who led the attack, even today Pakistan does not acknowledge its loss. After all the fighting on the glacier over the years, the bottom line is that Pakistan has no worthwhile presence on the Saltoro!

    As for Baltistan, Pakistan’s position is precarious, as its anti-Shia policies over the years have alienated it from the local population. Most observers believe that even maintaining its current position west of Saltoro is becoming untenable. Watchdog groups in the West, along with a few vernacular Pakistani newspapers, have been regularly reporting on parleys to hand over the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region to China on a 50-year lease. It is perhaps pertinent to point out that the Shaksgam Valley (to the immediate north of the Siachen region) was ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963 while the area to the east was occupied by the PLA in 1962 to provide depth to the Western Highway.

    In an ever-changing geo-political scenario, to look at Siachen only from an India-Pakistan perspective is absurd, especially as Chinese footprints over the entire Northern Areas are getting more and more obvious. From the US point of view, the geo-political relationship between them and Pakistan has always revolved around the Gilgit-Baltistan region. A counter-balance and a possible launching pad against Tibet (perceived to be China’s soft underbelly), the Northern Areas have always been the hub around which the ‘great game’ is being or was played.

    Talk of leasing the region to China cannot be lost on the Americans, who would be desperate to keep Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan and keep the Chinese out, especially as China is today also making serious attempts to cut its way through the Wakhan corridor into Afghanistan. By getting India to take a step back on Siachen, it gives the Pakistan leadership the incentive to hold on to the region, for the border with north-western Ladakh, which is currently static, becomes active again. In the guise of ‘peace moves’, the new situation sought to be thrust upon us is far more dangerous. India has never understood the British concept of pushing its frontiers out, and has a history of losing ground regularly. As defence analyst Maroof Raza points out, Siachen has been the one exception where India has gained ground since Independence.

    Over the years, subsequent Army Chiefs, including the current COAS General Bikram Singh, have categorically rejected the demilitarisation of Siachen. Says an incensed General VK Singh: “Have the proposers of such recommendations ever visited or stayed at the glacier or the higher posts? Has our trust deficit with Pakistan disappeared? Please remember what happened after PM Vajpaye's visit to Lahore. We must also be clear on the implications of this to our stand on the Shaksgam Valley. Has the government or the Track II team sent by it decided that we have no further claim on POK? Let us not get carried away by what can at best be described as sentimental hogwash.”

    This brings us to the issue as to whether India has a foreign policy and architecture that serves the nation’s security and self-interest!

    Let us look at the Government’s self-sacrificing relationship with the US. It is genuflection, prostration and crawling all the way, as the ‘reform cacophony’ emanating from the Prime Minister and his drum-beaters clearly indicate. The Indo-US Nuclear deal by buying Parliament votes and ramming in FDI-in-retail by totally ignoring the ‘sense of the nation’ are standing examples. And the Prime Minister nearly signed the Nuclear Liability Convention that gives immunity to US companies setting up nuclear power plants in India! As for Russia, the PMO is falling head over heels and is letting loose the worst forms of oppression and repression on the ordinary farmer-fisherfolk who are protesting against the unsafe Russia-built Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. A Minister of State in the PMO has been put in charge of supervising this!

    On the China front, the PMO’s dealings appear mysterious. India actively facilitated Sri Lankan Army’s fight-to-the-finish against the Tamils using Chinese weapons. India acted as China’s surrogate in the UN Security Council and UN Human Rights Commission to defend, protect and uphold Sri Lanka’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. India worked with China for a $2.6 billion IMF bailout loan to Sri Lanka to cover these expenses. India endorsed Chinese-type rule of oppression, repression, torture and concentration camps in Sri Lanka. All these have resulted in India losing its hold over Sri Lanka, which has now come under virtual Chinese hegemony.

    Now, by handing out the Siachen glacier, India is giving up its main leverage against Pakistan without gaining anything in return. The ‘Siachen egg’ that UPA lays in the last days of its reign can emerge as a monster of epic proportions,severely haunting national security.

    Here then are the pointed questions. Can a small cabal take such monumental decisions that concern the nation’s sovereignty and foreign policy without involving the ‘People, Parliament and President of India’? Can they keep on bulldozing Generals and civilians who come in their way of bartering nation’s security for a mess of pottage? Sooner the answer is given, the better!

    (Kunal Verma is a Military Historian; MG Devasahayam is a writer and author)

  2. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Your Nationalism is not above our Democracy: Indians at war with India

    Democracy or Nationalism? Which of the two holds supreme in the character of this nation? Which of the two, should hold supreme in the character of the nation?

    Nationalism, as described by the venerable Oxford Dictionary, is simply "Patriotic feeling, principles or efforts". Now the question crops up, what or who is a Patriot? I shall, of course, refer back to the trusted Oxford Dictionary (oft I thank the faculty of English Language at Bishop's Pune for this habit; the results of ignorance were catastrophic in those days, especially for the bottoms). A Patriot is "A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors".

    So, any right minded, logical person of an average IQ will be able to deduce that Nationalism and Patriotism is neither a fault nor an undesirable attribute. But, far from being satisfied, we must emphatically plead a case on either side, in order to deduce for ourselves the solution to the conundrum posted above.

    Democracy, now here comes my trusted Oxford Dictionary (thank you oh teachers; may my composition here not cause you to flip inside you graves now), is simply "A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."

    Now let us take a look at the picture below and study it.

    Image 1.jpg

    This denotes our students of Delhi University in a procession at Ramjas College (or thereabouts).

    My first impressions seeing the photograph? The author of this write up could have done a better job and it is highly pixellated. (Sorry for that. You see, the author had a tough time trying to loose the few calories he had gained after a rather delicious side of Japanese Cheesecake all by his self and had to hit the gym and hence was too busy to fly to Delhi to click a decent pick. And did the author mention that while at the treadmill, a rather pretty, young and fit thing ensured that the author was highly inspired to complete a 15 km run with rather deleterious effects the next day?)

    However, I digress. What I am able to deduce from the picture above, is that Nationalism is below Democracy. Or perhaps they want it to be on par with Democracy. This is where I remain confused. How can Nationalism be at par or below? A logical mind will always place it above Democracy as Democracy remains a system of governance and does not denote either a value system nor a virtue by a long shot.

    This is the scene of the recent protests after Ms Gurmehar Kaur, in an apparent fugue perhaps, decided to make a video proclaiming that she lost her father to war and Pakistan did not kill him. My deduction of a fugue were further strengthened when she went on to attribute her father's martyrdom to Kargil War and not to an insurgent attack on his Company Headquarter, when every soldier and his dog knows the truth.

    Being the receptive and perceptive human that I am (ahem!) I decided to humour her rants. But then, the logical mind was horrified! What was this? Can her personal loss be attributed to a war for which an enemy nation of the war was responsible and yet the nation be absolved of all responsibility? Here comes my Oxford Dictionary out. What is War? It is "A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country." Now the brain was in a dilemma. A pretty thing with a sentimental and emotional story, and the logical mind!!!! A dilemma! Again.

    So, the question I come back to: what is supreme?

    In the words of Lord Acton "The one pervading evil of Democracy is the tyranny of the majority". Sir Winston Churchill expressed his anguish when he said "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." What made these men say these words? Was it their abhorrence of Democracy or their recognition of the weakness of the system itself?

    The logical mind is finally clear. Democracy can not be supreme to nationalism. It can not even equate it. What the picture denotes, is a large mass of the very same people who are described in the statements above. That this movement is compounded by poor knowledge and understanding of the issue, is apparent even to my dear great grand uncle who has since been subsumed to be a part of some plant (and maybe some poor soul's diet in the process).

    What is being enacted at DU, is a war by other means. It is an important tool of statecraft for any state. A perfect and effective method to divide the ranks. It reeks ... sorry. It reeks of the stench of an evil design by the enemy state, which has used India's biggest strength - it's democracy, as a weapon against itself, and in the process, has managed to activate a public opinion indirectly against the heightened activism by Indian Security Forces against it's proxies and it's self along LC.

    This is a war being waged on India - by Indians. And sadly, the majority do not recognise that they have just played into the hands of the enemy nation. They are, today, the protagonists of the enemy nation within their own nation. Only time will tell how much more will Indians pay for their own war against themselves.

  3. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 30, 2016
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    I can't believe what I saw today on Twitter , a famous "self proclaimed sekular" Islamic bigot (mod of a defense forum- Icterus??) retweeted some Indians tweets filled with so much venom against our security forces. One is a ledy claiming about IA as bunch of rapists and a guy from Mumbai telling that Indian army killed more "civilians" than total terrorists combined including RSS (Mofos never forget to include this name as if they whooped their mothers a**)
  4. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel REGISTERED

    Nov 22, 2013
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    I think that placard should have read "Your 'nationalism' is not above our constitution".
    PARIKRAMA and SrNair like this.
  5. HariPrasad

    HariPrasad Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Dec 3, 2016
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    Democracy is for nation and nation is not for democracy therefor nationalism is above democracy.
    PARIKRAMA and Inactive like this.
  6. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Over 100 military personnel commit suicide every year

    Rajat Pandit TNN

    NEW DELHI: The armed forces continue to lose around 100 personnel to suicides every year despite successive governments holding that several measures have been taken to reduce the stress among soldiers. As many as 125 military personnel took the extreme step to end their lives in 2016.

    Replying to question in Lok Sabha on Friday, minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre said 101 soldiers, 19 airmen and five sailors committed suicide last year, with another three cases of fratricide (to kill a fellow soldier or superior) being reported from the three Services.

    This year, 13 Army jawans have already committed suicide, while two such cases have been reported from the IAF. Soldiers posted in far-flung areas often undergo tremendous mental stress for not being able to take care of the problems being faced by their families back home, which could range from property disputes and harassment by anti-social elements to financial and marital problems, as was earlier reported by TOI.

    Prolonged deployment in counter-insurgency operations in J&K and Northeastalso takes a toll on the physical endurance and mental health of soldiers. All this is also compounded by poor salaries, lack of basic amenities, denial of leave and ineffectual officer leadership.

    Bhamre, on his part, stressed the government had taken various measures to prevent such incidents. "These include improvement in living and working conditions through provision of better infrastructure and facilities; additional family accommodation; liberalised leave policy; establishing grievance redressal mechanism; conduct of yoga and meditation as part of the unit routine etc," he said.

    "A large number of officers have been trained as counsellors to provide counselling to defence personnel and their families. Civilian psychological counsellors have also been employed to provide mental health services. Psychologists also visit units and formations from time to time to carry out counselling, individually and at times in groups," he added.

    But a major problem that continues is that civil and police district administrations around the country are now largely unresponsive to the grievances of soldiers and their families unlike before. "One of the biggest worries for jawans is the hardships their families face back home. With mobile phones, our jawans keep on getting constant updates from their families, which adds to their mental stress and strain," said an officer.


    Over the past couple of weeks, a slew of negative media reports have been appearing in India, specifically highlighting the "problems" in Indian Armed Forces.

    Be it BSF jawan who set the trend or a couple of army soldiers, there is a systematic approach to show the forces of the nation being in problems.

    The recent incident of unfortunate hanging of a serving personnel after a sting video allegedly showing him criticising the buddy system, in all probability, seems a major effort at creating disaffection within the forces.

    Intelligence agencies, both military and civil, have indicated an Information War campaign being resorted to by interests inimical to India in wake of strong military response given in the aftermath of Uri Attack.

    The above write up is an excellent example of the same. The author has, either knowingly or unknowingly, also done his part by blaming poor, ineffectual leadership in one broad stroke as above.

    The author has at last, finally stressed on the main reason for stress in troops - the lack of support for problems at domestic front by civil and police authorities.

    No soldier is stressed out by his duties or stint in counter-insurgency environment. There is an excellent buddy system prevalent in army, where one soldier is designated buddy of another, and none is allowed to get into a withdrawn or reclusive posture. Soldiers are being taught to look for signs amongst themselves and their buddies. If a buddy is out on leave/indisposed, automatically another is placed by concerned NCO/JCO.

    Where such incidents do occur, it has been found that pressure at homefront has been the foremost problem. Invariably, as majority of our troops are from rural background and weaker socio-economic background, primary reasons of disputes of property, inability of spouse to cope with increasing complexities of societal living due to poor/non-existential educational and life skills and a glaring mismatch of economic wherewithal with aspirations (comparision of lifestyle by spouse with that as exhibited in movies) have been primary reasons of soldier being stressed out.

    It is with great concern thatI started this thread as there seems to be a campaign to spread misinformation about forces. In a for e of over 12 lakh personnel and counting , catering for prevalence of stress and psychiatric disorders in society as a whole, the figure is not at a rate where such an alarming picture had to be projected
    PARIKRAMA, nair, SrNair and 3 others like this.
  7. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Congress Pvt Ltd: Punjab is poor consolation for a family firm in decay

    Aakar Patel

    The Congress is like a private limited company. One hundred percent of its stock is held by a family. It is old money and the company’s current market share is unimportant. The fate of storied names like Mafatlal and Doshi is similar. There is no real accountability for failure because shareholders rarely punish themselves.

    The family may choose to appoint very talented executives (Manmohan, Chidambaram and so on) to take care of business. This the outsiders can often do competently. I doubt the decade of Modi, already 30% behind us, will compare favourably against the decade of Manmohan. But these executives are individuals who are not themselves popular leaders and ultimately have no personal stake in company failure.

    The BJP has many faults but it is like a public limited firm. The ownership is diverse and the chief executive running it is accountable to other shareholders through performance. If the leader does not perform, there will be dissent and we will get to hear of it. The absolute lack of dissent in the BJP of this NDA over the BJP of Vajpayee’s NDA can be attributed to one thing above all: the competence of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah at delivering electoral victories. Observe the drive in the Prime Minister as he sensed the UP race was tight and flung himself into battle.

    In those two grim and joyless men there is not a trace of satisfaction or accomplishment, even on winning. They move to the next election. Certainly not for them the rest and recuperation in foreign lands of Rahul Gandhi, exhausted by India. Modi and Shah are serious about politics and they play the game hard and relentlessly, the only way politics is done successfully in our parts.

    What is the other major difference between Congress and BJP? There is a profound one, and speaks again to ownership. The BJP is a cadre-based party. It has soldiers who are indoctrinated and motivated and coordinated. Hindutva is pure poison and this is not in doubt. But one must accept that it is spread through discipline and dedication. The ability to mobilise large numbers is with the ABVP and VHP. Even when their cause is manifestly wrong and anti-Indian, meaning against the interests of real Indian citizens, as against the interests of an imagined mother figure. Truth is thought to be forever on the scaffold and wrong forever on the throne, but in our case it’s mainly because truth is lazy and lacking in motivation and organisation.

    Have you ever in your life come across a Congress ‘worker’? I have not once, and I am now old enough to be classified as senior journalist. What is this mythical thing, the Congress worker? As rare a species as the Congress voter is becoming in large parts of India.
    On the other hand Hindutva’s street power, the BJP’s mobilisation ability, comes from the in-house armies they have nurtured and fired up over decades. This is the key difference between the parties. In a tight situation, the ground game of the BJP will carry the day. And of course, the fact is that the cadre, including the most hardened Sanghi, loves Modi because he is ideologically uncompromising.

    It is difficult to think of political parties in civilised societies that deliberately reject a group of citizens who form a fifth of the electorate. In UP, as usual, not one ticket to Muslims, not even tokenism from Modi, and the cadre loves it.

    What ideological resistance is offered against them? Not much. Gujarat Congress has been run for over a decade by a Hindutvawadi. The choice for my parents in Surat is between voting for one RSS fellow (Vijay Rupani of BJP) and another RSS fellow (Shankarsinh Vaghela of Congress). The Mumbai Congress, run for years by Murli Deora, one of the sharpest talents in the party, is run today by someone lifted from the Shiv Sena. This is not negligence: it is sabotage. How would Jawaharlal Nehru have reacted to the idea that Sanjay Nirupam, editor of Dopahar Ka Saamna, should lead Congress in Mumbai?

    The win in Punjab will be used by the courtiers to assuage the family. It will not cover the stench of decay. The Congress won one state but surrendered its majorities in two: Uttarakhand and Manipur. The dead elephant is still worth a lakh and a quarter goes the saying, and that is what once-mighty Congress has been reduced to.


    This article has found place in this thread only because of two highlighted portions as indicated above. This being a blog by the OP on Decay of Congress under the Gandhi Family, there was not a single opportunity to target the present dispensation (by exhibition of doubts about the capability of the present leadership as opposed to the preceding one) left. In addition, the author has beautifully ingratiated his point that if a Hindu is religious, it is anti-national and a threat and poison; any other religion strictly following their religion is secularism.

    It is these low lifes who are the cause of fractures in our society. Instead of highlighting the multi-pluralistic nature of the society, they serve only to highlight the majority will be wrong for following their religion, just because this precise religion and the laws of the land allow them to speak their mind!

    Continued efforts to undermine the multi-dimensional and pluralistic nature of this country!
    PARIKRAMA likes this.
  8. IndiranChandiran

    IndiranChandiran Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Jan 31, 2017
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    While Aakar Patel is a known RSS / BJP / Modi / Shah baiter & will not lose any opportunity to bait them , the thrust of his argument is on highlighting the pitfalls of Hindutva not Hinduism .

    While I'm no supporter or Patel or Hindutva for that matter , the growing radicalism of the religion of the peaceful in our land & our immediate surroundings added to the pathetic performance of the GOP has forced the hand of myself & people like me to consider viable options .Add to that Modi's excellent track record in governance and you can see why he's been winning for the BJP.

    I don't so much mind Patel or others of his ilk viz the barkhas , the rajdeeps , the sagarikas et al venting their spleen at the kind of politics the Sangh and it's affiliates practise .If anything it keeps them in check and forces them to exercise a more moderating influence on their own loony brigade .It has another unintended outcome - reverse polarisation .Which brings me to the second point - the absolute myopia & deafening silence when it comes to minority communalism .That clearly exposes the bias inherent in these commentators besides soiling their credibility as neutral observers and finally and most tellingly brings out their appalling ignorance about the mentality of the minorities , thereby negating their views by any informed reader .

    To add to this volatile mix of partisan writers a new breed of writers has emerged - all from the religion of the peaceful , all of them virulently BJP & almost all of them for a robustly secular politic , yet none of them with nary a word or article on the socio economic backwardness of their own co religionists , the growing radicalism evident to aby casual observer , etc .
    The latter bunch of journalists owe a lot to the former besides being encouraged by them .Why am I not surprised ?

    P.S, For more on the musings from journalists subscribing to the religion of the peaceful , please read Rana Ayyub ( bibiji -1) , Saba Naqvi ( bibiji 2) & assorted bhaijaans like Ajaz Ashraf , Shoaib Daniyal , etc coming up with "expose after expose" on the Sangh & the BJP every night on Scroll.in ( edited by Naresh Fernandes).You may read their pieces on other MSM as well or read their views on Twitter where they keep getting trolled by a small but dedicated band of conservatives ridiculing their hypocrisy .
    Himanshu Pandey and Inactive like this.

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