A Twitter user named Tehseen Poonawala, who is brother-in-law of Robert Vadra, who in turn is brother-in-law of youth leader and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, was caught in an awkward situation earlier today when one of his offensive and misogynist tweet targeted at Union Minister Smriti Irani was shown on English news channel CNN-News18.
Tehseen and his brother Shehzad Poonawala come on various news channels, introduced as “political analysts” or “activists”, while both of them are vocal supporters of Congress on Twitter. Both of them are often seen taking moral high grounds on various issues, including on topics like online misogyny and harassment of women.
With Tehseen’s offensive tweet aimed at ridiculing Smriti Irani, then the Union HRD Minister, being shown on TV, both of them were left red faced and embarrassed. The tweet was read out by a shocked journalist on CNN-News18 when Smriti Irani asked her to check out the abuse and harassment she had been subjected to:
— News18 (@CNNnews18) February 4, 2017
The crassness of the tweet was acknowledged by a few journalists, most of whom otherwise turn a blind eye towards abuses that are sent out by AAP or Congress supporters:
— Anubha Bhonsle (@anubhabhonsle) February 4, 2017
Realizing that the incident could blow up in his face, an embarrassed Tehseen deleted the tweet, but not before its screenshots were taken by many on Twitter. In fact, the same tweet was pointed out by some Twitter users yesterday itself after a TMC MP tried to defame two private citizens over online abuse:
— Maya (@Sharanyashettyy) February 3, 2017
The most ridiculous and laughable defence came from Teheseen’s brother Shehzad who came up with idiotic arguments claiming that the concerned message was never tweeted by Tehseen, thus it was fake. After acting technologically illiterate, or perhaps being one, he was introduced to a thing called Google cache by fellow Twitter users that proved that Tehseen had indeed posted the offensive tweet:
— The Masakadzas (@Nesenag) February 4, 2017
— Tajinder Pal S Bagga (@TajinderBagga) February 4, 2017
Both the brothers continued making ridiculous claims and were begging “friendly” journalists to help them out of this situation; meanwhile people found out many more examples of misogynistic tweets composed to humiliate and harass Smriti Irani:
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) July 6, 2016
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) January 21, 2016
Rakhi Sawant wants @nrendramodi to ban fans. Is she also doing (a) Modi and wants to become the next Smriti- I mean HRD minister?
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) April 5, 2016
— mamta nigam (@mamtan14) February 4, 2017
These are only a few tweets among many pointed out by Twitter users to prove how Tehseen has been virtually indulged in targeted harassment of the union minister.
It should be noted that while the mainstream media always highlights any stray incidents of any online abuse that appears to come from the so-called “right wing”, they normally ignore the abuses thrown at right-wing or pro-BJP social media users, including at women.
OpIndia.com had published a report earlier too highlighting how Smriti Irani in particular has been a target of such misogynist attacks and harassment. The mainstream media seems to be waking up to the phenomenon now.
But will the mainstream media ever talk about how pro-BJP or right-wing women are subjected to targeted harassment by political class, which calls itself “liberal”? Perhaps that will be too much to expect from a platform dominated by the so-called liberal class.