It was a repeat of the aftermath of infamous street brawl that Rajdeep Sardesai took part in New York. Then, Rajdeep had landed punches on a heckler. All journalists and the media establishment rushed to his support making all sorts of claims that it was Rajdeep who was attacked physically first, even when the videos clearly showed Rajdeep had initiated the fist fight. Later Rajdeep himself admitted he had erred.
Yesterday something similar happened. 4 abusive direct messages were sent from Rajdeep’s account to Twitter users, who were trolling him on the “Agusta Patrakar” issue. “Go ask your mother”, “Will your mother entertain us” were some of the messages sent out. Rajdeep’s alibi this time was that his account was “hacked” and someone had sent these abusive direct messages to defame him.
Yes, the hacker chose to send 4 private messages, not public tweets to defame Rajdeep even when Rajdeep had full access to his account to tweet about whatever he wanted. No journalist appears amused at this.
Soon after this, Rajdeep deactivated account. He was quoted by media reports as saying that he had disabled the account temporarily:
“I have disabled my account temporarily. Changing password and getting account checked. Plus, happy to take a break.”
The reason given by Rajdeep Sardesai himself was clear: Changing his password, and getting the account “checked”. Technically it is not possible to change the password of a deactivated account, but let’s take it on face value.
This excuse of account being hacked has been tried by many on Twitter. Shashi Tharoor, Meenakshi Lekhi, Kirti Azad, Vinod Kambli, and Lalit Modi too have used this “my account was hacked” card to run away from some controversial tweets. In almost all such cases, journalists were not willing to believe those coming up with the excuse, but when the erring party is one of their own, their stands have changed.
Although Rajdeep had given hacking as the reason, Indian journalists ganged up and sent out tweets that looked coordinated to paint Rajdeep Sardesai as the victim of “abuse” (even though it was him who was accused of sending out abusive messages!):
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai) April 30, 2016
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai quitting Twitter is serious. Twitter must not be synonymous with abuse. Next, politicians/CEOs/actors will quit
— Shantanu N Sharma (@shantanunandan2) April 30, 2016
The Sardesai episode is a perfect example of how diversity of opinion is being destroyed down by the mobs. Dangerous for democracy. Shameful
— naresh fernandes (@tajmahalfoxtrot) April 30, 2016
— Zakka Jacob (@Zakka_Jacob) April 30, 2016
Come back @sardesairajdeep Abuse never killed anyone. Many abusive ones greet you here & there, ask for selfies. Why take them so seriously
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) April 30, 2016
Let us hope he will be persuaded to return so that the vilest of abusers on Twitter do not feel encouraged
— Tony Joseph (@tjoseph0010) April 30, 2016
It’s high time @TwitterIndia does something about the abusive trolls how long will it take refuge under argument of being open forum
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) April 30, 2016
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) April 30, 2016
— Sucheta Dalal (@suchetadalal) April 30, 2016
Everyone chose to completely ignore:
- The fact the abusive direct messages had been sent from Rajdeep’s account, something which even he hasn’t denied, although he blames a mystery hacker for it.
- The fact that Rajdeep had clearly stated he was temporarily off twitter to get his account “checked”. He had not left Twitter, and he will come back.
The above tweets from journalists made it seem as if Rajdeep had left Twitter after being abused by trolls, and this propaganda continues today. In fact, now they have gone a step ahead. Now they are justifying the abusive messages sent from Rajdeep’s account. This is what Sandipan Sharma, one of the worst writers at Firstpost, wrote today defending the abusive language. He gave a “context” to Rajdeep being abusive, just like Rajdeep had given context to a Hindu activist being murdered:
The plan is clear: Try to deliberately obfuscate the two issues mentioned above and let Rajdeep play the victim card. In fact, very oddly, no one even talked about Rajdeep’s allegation of hacking. It should have worried a few that Twitter’s security systems are so vulnerable that they can be hacked by anyone, but no, they were busy playing to the script of “Rajdeep abused and driven out of Twitter”.
“Well played” is all we can say.