Dubai: As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Chennai, India, for the inauguration of Defence Expo 2018, protests erupted across the city and online.
The hashtag #GoBackModi became the top worldwide trend on Twitter. Facebook and Instagram users also shared pictures from the citywide protests, demanding action on the Cauvery water distribution issue.
Discontent is brewing in Tamil Nadu over the central government’s failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board and a Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee, as ordered by the Supreme Court.
Twitter user @Ssaniya25 posted a picture from the protests, of a child holding a black flag, and another of a group of men carrying black balloons.
She wrote: “This is how Tamil Nadu welcomed PM Modi. #GoBackModi is trending on No 1, it also shows why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of South Indians.”
On his visit, Modi chose to travel by helicopter because of security concerns, but the balloons made air travel challenging, as well.
Twitter user @Sai_PaIIavi92, wrote: “Modi’s flight will take a diversion since people are flying black helium balloons across Chennai airport.”
Even office-going Tamilians made sure they participated in the protest, by wearing black to work.
@puram_politics tweeted: “A couple of fellows at the workplace have showed up in black shirts because #GoBackModi. People don’t agree on blockchain use [but] agree Modi is a disaster. Modi is a unifier.”
Other users commented on how states in the south of India would be more difficult for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government to control, compared to states in the north of the country. There were several posts from users feeling cheated by the central government.
Twitter user @iamshubhmKr wrote: “#GoBackModi Totally ignored southern states, yet they give highest taxes. Give them their rights.”
Another user, @itisprashanth, wrote: “#GobackModi — The hashtag [is] not paid, not provoked or planned in advance. A Tamil uprising like never before. Each and every person who participated in this protest should be proud of himself/herself.”
Twitter users from the neighbouring state of Kerala also joined the online protest, with #PoMoneModi, which roughly translates to ‘Go back Modi’.
Facebook user Vijai Vel posted a comment on the two states supporting each other: “#GoBackModi trends worldwide, #pomonemodi joins hands from Kerala. Not paid, not robots, not fake trends. Each one is organic against injustice.”