Digital Media Coordinator of Samajwadi Party in India, Manish Jagan Agrawal has been facing the music for calling popular climate change activist Licypriya Kangujam a foreigner. The young activist shared a photo on social media raising awareness about plastic pollution near the Taj Mahal. Agarwal posted the same picture in an attempt to criticize his political opponent Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) but ended up shooting on his own foot. He referred to the girl as a “foreign tourist” who was showing a mirror to the BJP government. Licypriya schooled him on social media as others joined in.
Netizens Call Indian Politician a Racist
The tone-deaf tweet by the Indian politician sparked the ire of many. They responded with extremely harsh language which is not appropriate to mention here. However, some highlighted how Agarwal was the live example of racism that exists among several Indian communities. Licypriya responded to Agarwal’s ignorant tweet and told him who she was. The activist also called to stop racist attitudes toward North-East people, who are frequently ridiculed by Indians because of how different they look.
Several Indians said that people like Manish Jagan Agarwal do not consider North-East people Indians. Other activists for racial equality also joined the thread in support of Licypriya. They said that Agarwal’s mindset was the exact reason why they spend all of their time and resources on protecting others from falling into this racist trap.
The development also provides an opportunity for many others, who are “different” like Licypriya to raise their voices against the controversial caste system in India. If people do not belong to a certain area or caste, they are subjected to eternal hate, bullying, and lynching in their own country. Some don’t even accept them as Indians just like Agarwal did.
For many, except the Agarwals, Sharmas, Guptas, and Patils etc, we all are foreigners.— Javed Ladakh (@javedLadakh) June 23, 2022
Why Did He Think She Was a Foreigner?
After receiving the well-deserved backlash, Manish Jagan Agarwal tried to justify his ignorance by sharing some Indian media articles. These pieces of news also referred to Licypriya as a foreigner, exhibiting the same assumption problem Agarwal had. Netizens raised concern if the politician looked at the same sources before making a decision on how to run the country.
Who is Licypriya?
A 10-year-old girl which Manish Jagan Agarwal called a foreigner is a child climate activist from India. She is often called Greta Thunberg of India and is known as one of the youngest climate activists in the world. Licypriya started raising awareness about climate change in 2018. Inspired by the Swedish activist, she protested outside the Indian Parliament for a week in 2019 to gain Prime Minister Modi’s attention and compel him to pass a climate change law. She received the World Children Peace Prize 2019 by the Institute of Economics & Peace (IEP), SDGs Ambassador Award 2019, and Global Child Prodigy Award 2020.
She attended multiple UNESCO conferences on climate change around the world. In 2018, she visited Mongolia with her father to attend a conference that inspired her to participate in climate activism. In 2019, she attended another conference in Africa and gave an address in front of Presidents from Angola, Mali, the Republic of Congo, and Malawi. Licypriya also donated 100,000 INR from her saving to the Kerala flood victims in 2018.