A Facebook group, ‘Clean the Nation’ that has claimed to have successfully targeted ‘anti-nationals’ and gotten them arrested or suspended from their jobs has received an award for social media journalism from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Indian Express reported that Clean the Nation was given the Social Media Patrakarita Narad Samman, instituted by RSS-affiliate Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra.
Photos shared by the group on their social media show that Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani and RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya were present at the award ceremony and gave away the award.
Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra secretary told Indian Express, “We gave the award to them because we saw how much this group loves the nation. Many people love the nation, but some people love it actively.”
Clean the Nation has received praise from BJP leaders. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in Government of India Krishan Pal Gurjar took to Twitter congratulate them:
Reports suggest that the group was formed in February 2019, after the Pulwama attacks. Clean the Nation has 1,137 followers on Facebook and 7,805 followers on Twitter.
BJP MP Maheish Girri had also praised the group saying “Wah mere shero”.
In their first tweet on 19 February, Clean the Nation shared an article from inreportcard.in that claimed, “Clean the nation is an initiative by a group of people to expose miscreants who have been hell bent in creating divides in the country and mocking at the country during these crisis times. What they do is very simple but very significant.”
Their modus operandi seemed to be looking for people’s comments on social media and reaching out to their employers.
In a tweet, they also called for people to share with them the details of “anti-national” people.
Scroll.in had reported in February that the group was started by 42 people. One of the founding members, Ashutosh Vashishtha, had said in a Facebook post that their aim was “cleaning and weeding out anti nationals”
Vashishtha claimed that “We started our research and came across more than hundreds of such profiles and people who took pride in insulting the nation, the government and the army.”
The Scroll.in report had said that the group had claimed to have successfully targeted more than 50 people within the first two days of its formation.