There has been a movement of sort, activism as some would say, to make the Internet a safe space for women to express themselves without being abused or threatened.
Last week, some ‘Internet activists’ ran a hashtag ‘#WomenBoycottTwitter’ as a mark of protest against the abuses and threats women receive online. Some even argued that why should women remain silent to protest against being silenced, but the protestors were quickly distracted when a new thing came up. The new thing was son of a Congress leader Moti Irani, who was under CBI scanner for the CWG scam, Khodu Irani, being accused of sexual harassment by number of women and men. This led to more and more women coming up with the stories of their sexual abuse. I believe the Internet is a great platform which allows people to come out and express an opinion, especially when they have been victims of such abusive behaviour.
In a day when Internet activism is considered a job and people are crowdfunding so that you could pay their bills as they take time off from freelancing and spend hours on Twitter asking others to ‘eat shit’ if they disagree with them, you would expect that the champions of such movements are kind themselves and do not indulge in bullying. Of course, that is an ideal situation, because if you disagree with them, they lead an online mob because nothing they do could ever be questioned.
And if someone is out abusing you, the illiterate, uncouth, abusive, Right wing Modi bhakts, they will not only sit back and be mute spectators (after urging everyone to not be a mere bystanders when someone is being abused), but also indulge in abusing you because ‘you deserve it’ for not agreeing with a ‘liberal’.
A Twitter user who goes by the handle @UnsubtleDesi, was trolled and abused mercilessly yesterday, on Diwali, because she did not agree with the idea of wishing “Diwali Mubarak” (in place of Diwali ki shubhkamnayein or Happy Diwali) for Diwali.
Blocked an idiot friend who sent me a “Diwali Mubarak” greeting on WhatsApp. Bloody idiots
— Nupur (@UnSubtleDesi) October 19, 2017
Nupur had recently written how a former colleague had claimed Siddharth Varadarajan had suppressed Vadra scam exposé for 7 months. She had also written how media and politicians spread sensational lies about renewed Chinese aggression at Dolam and a heartfelt tribute to Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Sir Arjan Singh.
A volley of trolling and abuses followed her tweet, from most of those who identified themselves as feminist, and some were even politicians.
Congress supporter quoted her tweet and said that her name, Nupur, has Urdu origins, and hence, her tweet where she objected to the word ‘mubarak’ should be mocked at.
Nupur is an Urdu word that means Paayal or Anklet.
Urdu naam mubarak ho ?? https://t.co/G7dTOizYP8
— Suryanarayan Ganesh (@gsurya) October 19, 2017
Without going into the details whether her name has Urdu origins or not, that tweet got over 800 retweets and support in trolling from Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla.
— Shehzad Poonawalla (@Shehzad_Ind) October 19, 2017
Poonawalla even retweeted a few tweets mocking Nupur, thus encouraging the trolls which quickly resorted to abuses and threats. Others, too encouraged the mob behaviour.
Perfect day to get blocked by a bigot. Kindly send Diwali Mubarak greetings to this colony aunty. https://t.co/xVQGjuAgFe
— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 19, 2017
— Suryanarayan Ganesh (@gsurya) October 19, 2017
(GSurya is followed by Congress’ official handle on Twitter)
While he got called out on his factual inaccuracy, he still kept the tweet which insinuates that Nupur was arrested for instigating a riot, which she was not.
2nd incorrect position of yours is that Mz @UnSubtleDesi got arrested for riot Mongering
Ganging up against a lady are you ??
— gab.ai/TheCol (@desertfox61I) October 20, 2017
These troll tweets spread Nupur’s tweet to a wider audience, where the ugly side of Internet came out. She started getting abusive tweets and threats.
These are just some of the instances of abuse received by Nupur. Most of these terrible ones are are not posting here because it is below me to dignify these abuses to a woman by giving them a bigger platform. If you are still very curious, please check mentions of Nupur, she gets this a lot and regularly.
Please note that none of these Internet activists came out in her support to call out the abusers or the influential people leading a mob against her. Some of these even participated in the ‘#MeToo’ campaign, channelising their inner feminist.
— Shehzad Poonawalla (@Shehzad_Ind) October 18, 2017
Yet to meet a person from my gender who has not suffered abuse/harassment/ being groped in their lives. We’re all survivors here. #MeToo
— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 16, 2017
Hence, it comes as a surprise that in less than 48 hours of speaking on abuse and harassment, they are ready to lead an online mob against someone just because the victim this time is a Right winger and Modi supporter. How can they be talking about creating safe spaces for women online when they mock, troll and encourage abusers against other women just because ‘oh, she is a bigot (which anyone who disagrees with them becomes, automatically), so she deserves it’.
Where else have we heard someone say that a woman deserves to be sexually abused because of the way she was dressed? How is this any different? So now, political inclination of someone will decide whether someone deserves to be trolled or not? Hypocrisy, much?