Social media users enlisted themselves as "urban naxals" in a show of solidarity with the arrested Left-wing activists as 'MeTooUrbanNaxal' hashtag trended on microblogging site, Twitter.
It all started when filmmaker and author Vivek Agnihotri asked some "bright young minds" to put together a list of those defending 'Urban Naxals'.
"I want some bright young people to make a list of all those who are defending #UrbanNaxals. Let's see where it leads. If you want to volunteer with commitment, please DM me," he tweeted last night.
Social media users - journalists, activists, professionals, students - people from all walks of life - lashed out at the filmmaker.
They countered that the term 'Urban Naxal' was a mere creation of some sections to malign those who have an anti-establishment stance. Others accused Agnihotri of openly inciting hate.
As a mark of protest, thousands enlisted themselves as 'urban naxals', tweeting and retweeting the hashtag since this morning.
Prateek Sinha, co-founder of Alt News, asked the Twitterati to tag the filmmaker with the hashtag #MeTooUrbanNaxal to help the latter build his list.
"You know how the term 'anti-national' doesn't stick anymore. It was because all of us of a certain ideological bent started jokingly referring to ourselves as anti-nationals in many of our conversations and reduced it into a joke. It was no longer derogatory, it was a joke. So they needed a new phrase and which is what is 'Urban Naxals'.
"We cannot let these Hitler's grandchildren and great grandchildren target specific people with that phrase. So let's reduce it to a joke. Let's all proclaim that we are all 'Urban Naxals'. #MeTooUrbanNaxal, what about you? he tweeted.
Actress Swara Bhaskar gave a big thumbs up to the move and said that the trending of the hashtag was "a tight slap. Kudos to #TwitterWarriors".
If asking the questions, or standing up for humanity and freedom of speech makes me an urban Naxal... then I'm proud to be one #MeTooUrbanNaxal," tweeted Archana Bhardwaj.
Journalist Nikhil Wagle tweeted, "If @Sudhabharadwaj is a naxal, I am a naxal too. Arrest me. #MetooUrbanNaxal".
Another user, Vidyut, even changed his user name to Urban Naxal Vidyut.
"Congratulations, BJP on the most successful recruitment drive for naxals in the history of urban India #MeTooUrbanNaxal," he tweeted.
The hashtag has so far garnered more than 55,000 tweets.
The Maharashtra Police yesterday arrested Left-wing activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, and conducted raids in the houses of several others as part of a probe into the 'Elgar Parishad' event held in Pune on December 31 last year.
The event had allegedly triggered violence between Dalits and upper caste groups at Koregaon Bhima village in the district.