Following the reports of the a young couple were thrashed by co-passengers for standing too close in Kolkata Metro after they objected to their “intimacy in public”, the authorities are now looking into the incident.
While no complaint has been lodged yet, protests have been launched against the alleged case of moral policing where the youth offered free hugs to people outside the Dum Dum Metro Station.
Youngsters offer ‘free hugs’ to people outside Dum Dum metro station in kolkata’, as a mark of protest against people who had reportedly beaten up a couple for hugging in the metro. Protesters say,’Hugging is not something visually perverted, it’s a sign of affection’ #WestBengalpic.twitter.com/Hr3UwVXfpY
— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2018
Soon, those offering condemnation against the incident began sharing Facebook profiles of those they believed to have been involved with the harassment of the young couple.
As is often the case with such online mob justice, an innocent man has appears to have been wrongly maligned. A woman has claimed on Facebook that her father-in-law has been wrongfully targeted by the hordes of online mob which sought justice for the harassed couple.
Priyanka Adhikary claimed that her father-in-law’s profile was wrongfully circulated on social media accusing him of harassing the couple. She further claims that he was at home during the time the incident transpired. She said, “…he is a man of knowledge and dignity and would never hope such things could happen and have no idea how this happened.” She suggested that people should think before sharing posts carelessly as it could mean mental trauma for some.
Similar incidents have occurred in the past as well. The most recent being that of one Vishal Jangotra who was presumed to be the accused in the Kathua rape case because he shares name with him. As a consequence, he was unfairly targeted and was receiving threats from people.
Then there was the Jasleen Kaur incident where she claimed on Facebook that she was eve-teased by a man at a red light. Everyone jumped on the scene to commend the girl on her bravery, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. As a consequence, he lost his job. But later, he was proven to be innocent and Times Now was even forced to apologize for their coverage.
There was the incident of the Rohtak sisters as well where two girls were hailed as heroes on social media after a video of their thrashing three boys went viral. After the mainstream media ran a vilification campaign where the boys were maligned as ‘sexual predators’ and ‘molesters’ and suffered terrible consequences to their personal and professional lives, they were proved to be innocent and it was exposed that the girls were serious offenders.
While social media is a great tool, it must be used with caution and online mobs should be discouraged from taking it upon themselves to serve justice to alleged perpetrators.