27 February 2019
New Delhi: Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan, some of the trending hashtags on Twitter on Wednesday were talking about bringing peace to the region -- along with the call to bring back the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot in Pakistan's custody.
Among them was the #SayNoToWar in the top five trending hashtags.
The reason #SayNoToWar started trending on the popular social media platform was that people in both the countries shared messages of peace and expressed their concern with that hashtag.
"No glory in war #SayNoToWar," read the caption of a picture of two children holding Indian flag and Pakistani flag embracing each other.
"Soldiers die and their loved ones suffer, not the politicians or the hashtag warriors who tweet/post about war from the comfort of their homes. #SayNoToWar," read another tweet.
A lot of the tweets with the SayNoToWar hashtag posted pictures of disadvantaged children, indicating that India and Pakistan should concentrate on fighting poverty instead of waging war against each other.
Tensions escalated between the two countries after IAF jets on Tuesday bombed the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit in Balakot in Pakistan.
The tensions persisted on Wednesday as the IAF chased away intruding Pakistani fighter jets in Jammu and Kashmir's Nowshera sector and shooting down a Pakistani F-16 that fell on the Pakistan side.
An Indian military aircraft, however, crashed in Badgam in J&K, 7 kms from the Srinagar International Airport, police said.
Pakistan claimed on Wednesday it has captured two Indian pilots, one of whom was identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The identity of the other is not known.
Soon after the news broke, #BringBackAbhinandan started trending on Twitter -- with people in both the countries calling for treating the Wing Commander with dignity and sending him to the country to which he belongs.
"I as a citizen of Pakistan request my govt to treat the "captive" Indian pilot well and send him back ASAP as a gesture of peace. Come on Pakistan you can do this #SayNoToWar," wrote one user. The message was retweeted close to 2,000 times.
Bollywood singer Vishal Dadlani thanked her for the message, saying: "Only sane citizen voices can compel governments to find some sense in these insane times. #SayNoToWar".
"I am a Pakistani, we know what war is. I consider #Abhinandan as a Hero Because this is not his Fault, He was Serving his Country with Bravery. He will be Sent Home Soon Inshallah, Creating a message against all those war Supporting Celebs and Politicians," wrote another user with the the SayNoToWar hashtag.
During peacetime, Twitter is generally known as a toxic platform where people trade barbs and issue threats. On Wednesday, when a real threat of a war was looming large over India and Pakistan, Twitter gave sanity a chance.