India’s online troll army doesn’t stop: Congress leader gets rape threat against minor daughter

Dubai

Not long after India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj became a target of the online Indian right-wing troll army, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi has become their latest target.

Chaturvedi shared on Twitter that on Sunday, a troll, @GirishK1605, threatened to harm her 10-year-old daughter. The Twitter handle is no longer available.

According to Indian media channel NDTV: “Chaturvedi said that the harassment began after a fake quote on the recent gang-rape of a seven-year-old in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur was attributed to her.”

She said: “The quote on Facebook showed that I was supporting the accused. This went viral on various social media platforms.”

What shocked her and many others on Twitter was that a 10-year-old child, who has nothing to do with politics and doesn’t have any understanding of political ideologies, was being threatened.

Tweep @AmritaDhawan1 wrote: “No abusive forces can beat the strength of a mother who knows well how to protect its children. You are not alone @priyankac19 in this fight. These BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) goons leave no woman from this filth but bringing innocent children/families into is uncalled for.”

Chaturvedi has filed a legal complaint to investigate this matter. She posted through her official Twitter handle @priyankac19: “I hope @MumbaiPolice will act swiftly, they have called me and have initiated action.”

She also tweeted: “Many thanks to all those who have called and tweeted in support. Grateful. I am convinced that if there is evil in society there is even greater goodness. PS: If I am a fierce woman, let me assure you am a fiercer mom & will not let those who target my children get away with threats.”

Tweep @MeghnaPant highlighted: “Dear Idiot Troll, Are you aware that cyber threats are treated like real-life threats? They’re illegal and punishable by law. So stop threatening us, for there’s nothing stronger than the collective outrage of women who’ve tolerated your ** for too long! Go get them @priyankac19!”

This comes at a time when India is struggling with safety of women and an increase in reports of rapes and gender-based violence.

Last week, the Thomson Reuters Foundation released the result of an international opinion survey of 550 experts that found India to be the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman.

Many Twitter users came out in support for Chaturvedi and said that immediate legal action should be taken. @chavan_mukesh tweeted: “People of our country must strongly condemn the rape threats to @priyankac19’s daughter. And stand with priyanka ji and all women of our country. The troller/account holder posting such threats must be booked under the law and needs to be punished immediately. And @GshekarINC wrote: “We are with you @priyankac19 such cowardly act of threatening you and your daughter should be dealt with strong actions and not just words, we live in a democracy and such rogues who fancy threatening legitimate voices can never be a part of our democracy nor nation building.”

People went beyond their political views to voice support for her. BJP spokesperson @ShainaNC posted: “Social media is a forum to express opinion, counter opinion, critique, sarcasm, or witt. But clearly trolling with abuse is unacceptable of any woman leader across the board. Be it @SushmaSwaraj or @priyankac19”

@DrAshutoshSGPGI added: “I am totally against your ideology Priyanka ji but in this matter I strongly support you…Do not spare this pervert.”

Twitter @shwetapunj said Twitter needed to take action to detect such abuse and online harassment. She posted: “Despicable threats to @priyankac19 ! @TwitterIndia you’ve got to up the ante on detecting abuse. This has gone on for too long!”

Lately, many right-wing Hindutva ideologists have created Twitter accounts and are using social media for political propoganda. Many have noticed that these troll accounts use foul and abusive language with impunity. Many of these are followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or other prominent BJP leaders.

On Sunday, Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) had tweeted: “In a democracy difference of opinion is but natural. Please do criticise but not in foul language. Criticism in decent language is always more effective.”

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