Students protest against BJP government
A demonstrator shouts slogans and waves the Indian national flag as she takes part in a protest demanding the release of Kanhaiya Kumar on 18 February 2016. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Thousands of Indians have taken to Twitter to vent anger against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The hashtag #IndiaAgainstBJP was the top trend in India on Thursday 18 February as people criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government over the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) row.

JNU has been at the centre of a heated debate on nationalism versus freedom of expression since their student union president was arrested on sedition charges. Kanhaiya Kumar was apprehended for his role in a rally against the hanging of Mohammed Afgzal Guru, at which anti-India slogans were allegedly shouted. Afzal Guru was convicted over a 2001 plot to attack India's Parliament, charges which he had always denied.

On 18 February many took to Twitter to criticise the BJP party and Modi, with many accusing them of stifling freedom of speech and referring to their members as "goons". The accusations refer to an incident on 15 February when a BJP lawyer was filmed beating up a member of the Communist Party of India because he allegedly spoke against India. Other BJP lawyers were accused of attacking journalists and students as they awaited the beginning of Kumar's trial at Patiala House Court.

As people took to Twitter to vent their frustration at the Modi government, thousands gathered on the streets of New Delhi to stage a march in solidarity with their student leader Kumar. Students marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, despite the University Vice-Chancellor issuing an appeal to them to reconsider their decision.

VC Jagadesh Kumar said: "While we appreciate your right to protest, we are concerned for your safety outside the campus. We, therefore, request you to reconsider the decision of taking out a march outside the university."

Students at JNU have been branded "terrorists" since the arrest of Kumar, with many calling for the University to be shut down over fears that it was breeding "anti-nationals". Despite this, students issued a statement saying that the march would go ahead.

On Twitter, many criticised the BJP government of stifling freedom of expression, as well as strongly condemned the use of violence that had been witnessed this week. Some used the trending hashtag to raise other concerns about Modi's rule.

Anger at the crackdown on freedom of expression

Shock over acts of violence from government lawyers

The fight for freedom of dissent

Disappointment over India's image on the world stage

Highlighting the plight of farmers, students and women

Calls to release the "falsely arrested"

The state of India's education system

And finally, everything comes together