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.
This is shocking beyond words. This horrendous tweet reflects that these filthy scums can go to any level to support their supreme leader; from threatening women with rape-threats to this open threat to a girl-child. @priyankac19 don’t leave this paedophile. @MumbaiPolice https://t.co/EQtdVn7bTo— Sadhavi Khosla (@sadhavi) July 2, 2018
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.”
No abusive forces can beat the strength of a mother who knows well how to protect its children. You r not alone @priyankac19 in this fight.These BJP goons leave no woman from this filth but bringing innocent children/families into is uncalled for. I challenge them for a #FaceOff https://t.co/GQ9995hzpa— Amrita Dhawan (@AmritaDhawan1) July 2, 2018
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!”
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 BS for too long! Go get them @priyankac19! https://t.co/CX6Ib9H7zZ— Meghna Pant (@MeghnaPant) July 2, 2018
This comes at a time when India is struggling with safety of women and an increase in reports of rapes and gender-based violence.
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”
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— Shaina NC (@ShainaNC) July 2, 2018
@DrAshutoshSGPGI added: “I am totally against your ideology Priyanka ji but in this matter I strongly support you…Do not spare this pervert.”
I am totally against your ideology Priyanka ji but in this matter I strongly support you…Do not spare this pervert…— Dr. Ashutosh Pathak (@DrAshutoshSGPGI) July 2, 2018
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.”