On Saturday, Bengali film actress Saayoni Ghosh came under fierce criticism after a vile Hinduphobic tweet, dating back to 2015, re-surfaced on social media.
On February 18, 2015, the actress had tweeted a picture wherein a female character was seen putting a condom over the sacred Hindu symbol of a Shivling. She wrote, “Gods cudnt have been more useful.” Her tweet maligning Hindu culture was posted on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri, which was observed on February 17 that year.
Netizens warn the actress of legal action
While the actress got away with her brazen display of Hinduphobia in 2015, social media users were not ready to cut her any slack this time. Former Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy tweeted, “Ms. Saayoni Ghosh,You have put a condom on a Shivlinga which we Hindus, including me, hold as holiest of holies!”
He added that it constitutes a cognizable, non-bailable offence under Indian Penal Code Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class). Tathagata Roy cautioned, “Now be prepared for the consequences.”
its religion or religious beliefs),a cognizable,non-bailable offence punishable by imprisonment for 3 years or fine or both.— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) January 16, 2021
Now be prepared for the consequences.
Another user wrote in Bengal, “Shame on your filthy mindset. Kolkata police, take appropriate action against her for distorting the image of Hindu Gods. We will not tolerate any insult to Hinduism anymore.”
ধিক্কার জানাই আপনার নোংরা মানসিকতাকে@KolkataPolice হিন্দু দেবী দেবতাদের ছবি এই ধরনের বিতর্কিত করার জন্য আইনত ব্যবস্থা করুন..— Priyanka Sharma (@Priyankabjym) January 16, 2021
হিন্দু ধর্মকে আঘাত আর অপমান করা মেনে নেওয়া যাবে না.. pic.twitter.com/XOX2DanHAs
Slamming her for her double standards on ‘Eid’ and ‘Maha Shivaratri’, another user asked, “Isn’t it hypocrisy? (She is a) Bengali version of Swara Bhaskar.”
Eto ta hypocrite ??— Probir Ghosh (@IProbir) January 16, 2021
Bengali version of Swara Bhaskar . pic.twitter.com/sxdPszviGf
Saayoni Ghosh apologises after outrage, peddles ‘hack theory’
The actress, who has been in the film industry since 2010, was mistaken into believing that netizens are naive to buy her argument when she claimed that the derogatory post was the handiwork of a hacker. Labelling her own tweet as ‘obnoxious’, she informed, “Dear all, a post from 2015 has been brought to my notice which is extremely obnoxious..for all your information, I have joined Twitter on 2010 and after a brief use I lost interest in carrying forward. However, the account remained.”
Dear all, a post from 2015 has been brought to my notice which is extremely obnoxious..for all your information, I have joined twitter on 2010 and after a brief use I lost interest in carrying forward however the account remained. After a while my pr Bhaska Roy intimidated me— saayoni ghosh (@sayani06) January 16, 2021
She claimed that her PR agent Bhaska Roy informed her that her account has been hacked. She alleged that the account couldn’t be retrieved until 2017. “After a while, my pr Bhaska Roy intimidated me that my account has been hacked and we need to retrieve it immediately. For various reasons, we could only do that after 2017 and I got back in touch with the Twitter world with a bang,” the actress emphasised.
That my account has been hacked and we need to retrieve it immediately. For various reasons we could only do that after 2017 and I got back in touch with the Twitter world with a bang. We have skipped a few unnecessary post while deleting most and I would take strict measure to— saayoni ghosh (@sayani06) January 16, 2021
Furthermore, Saayoni Ghosh said that most post were deleted, except for a few unnecessary ones. “I would take strict measure to ommit content which hurt religious sentiment of people beyond repair,” she reiterated. The actress urged users to share her the link of the derogatory post so that she could remove it from her Twitter timeline.
ommit content which hurt religious sentiment of people beyond repair…I have asked for the link of the post and will delete it the moment we locate it. I hope not to be misquoted or misunderstood. My religion means a lot to me so does our unity in trying times.💓— saayoni ghosh (@sayani06) January 16, 2021
“I hope not to be misquoted or misunderstood. My religion means a lot to me so does our unity in trying times,” she pleaded.
Netizens debunk ‘hack theory’ with convincing evidence
However, netizens refused to approve of her cliched ‘hack theory’, which many social media influencers rely upon on facing public backlash. It is important to remember that Saayoni Ghosh had originally uploaded the derogatory image of the Shivling on February 18, 2015.
But, her Twitter posts from that very day tells a different story. Assuming that a hacker took control over her account in a bid to malign her, why would that individual then choose to upload selfies with her friends? In the screenshot below, she was seen sharing selfies with her friend and uploading pictures of her vanity van.
Interestingly, Saayoni Ghosh had claimed that her account could not be retrieved until 2017. However, a Twitter user (@kannadaveera) shared screenshots of her tweets, dating back to September and October 2016. In the said tweets, the actress was seen promoting her film ‘Byomkesh O Chiriyakhana’ ahead of its release on October 7, 2016. She had also shared visuals of her character from the movie, just a day before the release of the film. Such content surely can’t be posted by a hacker.
The curious case of social media lingo
As per Saayoni Ghosh, she was unable to access her account till 2017. At this point, it becomes imperative to ask, “Who was promoting her own film using her Twitter account?” It is astonishing to see that the hacker who supposedly wanted to malign her image by uploading a Hinduphobic image was also helping her in promoting her film.
However, an interesting part of her tweets has been her writing pattern. In the contentious Hinduphobic tweet, which became the epicentre of social media controversy, read, “Gods cudnt have been more useful.” In the said statement, the spelling of ‘couldn’t’ is misspelt as ‘cudnt’. While writing on social media, several users tend to abbreviate words by omitting letters from it or using different letters altogether. For instance, the word ‘you’ is often replaced with ‘u’, or writing ‘of course’ as ‘ofc’.
Such spelling mistakes often become a part of one’s writing habit on social media. And this phenomenon becomes clearer in the case of Saayoni Ghosh. A glance at a compilation of her tweets, from 2012, shows similar spelling mistakes/abbreviations of the word ‘couldn’t’. It must be mentioned that her account was not hacked during that time asper her claim.
The actress claimed to have retrieved her account in 2017. But, similar abbreviations of the word ‘couldn’t’ can be seen in her tweets, dating back to October 2018. Between 2012 and 2018, one particular word is written in a specific way, prior to the account’s alleged hacking and even after the account is restored.
As such netizens were quick to dismiss her dubious apology and instead warned her of legal action for not being truly apologetic of her actions while trying to pass the blame seamlessly on a supposed hacker.