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Anatomy of Astra - A pro-BJP, anti-Congress troll feared and influential on WhatsApp


Jan 21, 2021
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A pro-BJP, anti-Congress party troll named Astra became feared and influential on WhatsApp. He turned out to be an unimposing 28-year-old named Sunil Poojary. (Samyukta Lakshmi for The Washington Post)

Astra was such a militant voice on the internet that even BJP leaders feared being accused by him of being too MODERATE toward Muslims' Astra' turned out to be a 28-year-old named Sunil Poojary. Poojary, a.k.a. Astra, runs an anonymous troll page feeding highly polarizing and incendiary content into WhatsApp groups. Typically, BJP staffers don’t create the inflammatory content, but they spread it, anyway“ There are things we may not say, but the troll pages say it,”


RSS arrived at Poojary's home and recruited him, at age 7. He found a family in the RSS and purpose in hard-line Hindutva, after his father died, Poojary was only 15 then. RSS transferred him to Bajrang Dal - But he quickly realized he did not fit in with muscle-bound bruisers.
He turned to writing, penning essays on Hindu mythology & history. But nothing gave him the attention he desired until he found WhatsApp. In 2020, Poojary launched Astra and three other troll pages. He reveled in the fact that people assumed the man behind Astra was a “gangster.”
Five local BJP candidates he had supported on social media all won. But Poojary is also worried, he admitted, that with Congress now controlling the state police, he might be charged with libel or spreading fake information.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/09/26/hindu-nationalist-social-media-hate-campaign/
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