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She Tweeted Her Views On Assam Violence, How She Was Abused In Return Is Shocking!

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By Mayank Jain:

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”― George Washington

The words ring true as the bells of warning about the dangers and perils of suppressing the voice of people. The voices of dissent, when suppressed through oppression and tyranny become rage and result in chaos, violence and turmoil that is not easy to recover from.

From Arab spring which overthrew many dictatorial regimes to the current Ukraine crises, social media has been pivotal in playing the role of information disseminator where people have come up to support, defend or debunk the ideas that float to reach a consensus. Social media stands for freedom of expression and the right of a person to speak his/her mind without being scared of being reprimanded for his/her own opinions.

However, Indian elections are one of the biggest in the world and this importance that is attached to the political process is humongous. This makes our very own political parties forget the rights of people and they turn a blind eye towards their duties to protect these rights because their eyes are lusting for the power centers.

Be it bashing Rahul Gandhi over social media or Modi spam bots that don’t let people mention this word without automatically receiving a Tweet from BJP asking for their vote, social media has been turned into propaganda platform which can be utilized to vie for anything you want, given that your ‘followers’ are enough in numbers to flood timelines and feeds.

Social media might be a boon but it definitely gives an ugly turn to things if the hatred goes untreated. Bashing becomes cool in a matter of few tweets and insensitive hashtags that hurt the sentiments of one community or spread hatred soon become trends and people join in to express their common hatred for a section of society.

A recent case in point is that of criminalization of Bangladeshi immigrants who are being held responsible for the violence in Assam in the speeches of a few leaders. Including Narendra Modi who held them responsible for sectarian killings in the state. “You are concerned about infiltrators and not your own people…they must go back, they are robbing the youths of India of their livelihood,” Modi told the rally in West Bengal.

The issue of who is responsible for the violence is for the judicial authorities to decide but this reckless shaming of a whole community of people is unwarranted. Similarly, BJP fans took over the social media and made sure they criminalize Bangladeshi immigrants and held them responsible for everything wrong with Bengal and Assam. From food shortage to lack of jobs, they held the immigrants responsible.

India used to be a tolerant country which never backed down from providing a safe haven to people in need but this hate mongering is unprecedented.

Prerna Bakshi, 29-years-old who is a sociolinguist, research Scholar and a writer, became the victim of this social media storm too where people don’t spare those with views conflicting with their own and take to abuses and slut shaming to silence them.

When you’re a woman and a politically conscious woman holding and willing to voice strong opinions at that, life could be tough on social media, something I’ve addressed before. I get attacked by men who proudly exhibit their misogyny, sexism and slut shaming directed against me and against other women quite regularly. It does not hold me down though,” she said.

Here are a few screenshots of the message she receives for her views and how she doesn’t stop speaking up:

p1

p2

She tweeted her views on the issue of Assam violence and a horrific flurry of tweets flooded her account where people went from calling her a ‘bitch’ and a ‘Muslim slut’ among many other hatred filled tweets.

All she did was express her dissent on calling immigrants ‘illegal’ since she feels that it’s not sensitive to brand people like that. “I find it deeply offensive and dehumanizing. Not only is the argument inaccurate but is used as a ploy to fuel the right wing narrative which suits their political agenda perfectly. The fact of the matter is neither Modi nor BJP nor do their staunch supporters taking this insensitive view have any evidence to back the claims they are making. Many of the families, who happen to be Muslims, have lived there for generations, who are now framed as being from Bangladesh.” she told us over email.

Here is another screenshot portraying the same:

p3

If some fanatics can ask people to migrate to Saudi Arabia or North Korea just because they are expressing opinions not pleasing to them, then the day is not far when they do act on their threats and start deporting people to dungeons. A democracy’s power rests in the power of its electorate and if the current trends on social media are to go by, then our democracy is highly in danger. When will they let us speak our mind? When will we be able to debate and discuss contentious issues rather than shame or spread hatred against each other? Do we need a Hindu Rashtra or a secular democratic republic which is tolerant, welcoming and warm?

We all know the answers, it’s the time to act and speak up.

You must be to comment.
  1. Time Rays

    The story is not the complete picture. Nowadays, it is difficult to say who is a fanatic. I am in Delhi and have witnessed crude and abusive of people who speak English, are in good clothes, have laptops with them (in short, who seem to be working professionals). I have heard them openly abusing girls. Also, it is wrong to just pinpoint BJP. The issue of illegal immigrants is there and YKA should do a thorough research before posting such articles. Bangladeshi immigrants issue has crept in many Supreme Court observations too, particularly in Aadhar card cases. The problem is in this world of social media and internet, many people express their views on topics in which they don’t know the history and the background. And there are many others who fall prey to these opinions: some oppose and some favor. Please come with well-researched material and not just stray incidents and unsubstantiated things just to get comments and views.

  2. Nitesh Singh

    What do you want to imply that bangladeshi immigrants are not illegal ? SC has mentioned in their rulings that merely getting a aadhar card for these immigrants does not make them legal residents of india. And they are indeed being lured by parties like INC and TMC for their benefits. They are just the votebank community for these parties.

    1. axe

      what is the point of the aadhar card then? and who gave you the right to decide who comprises the Indian nation? and, finally, what exactly is wrong with ‘vote bank politics’?

  3. JayT

    It is interesting that you open your laughable ‘article’ on free speech by an American, a nation that Prerna has no tolerance for! Your article is completely devoid of any critical analysis and reeks of hypocrisy. Prerna Bakshi leads the way when it comes to supressing the views of others. I have checked her twitter account on the odd occasion (I certainly do not follow her) to find a venomous tirade against those who question her ‘views’. Very strange for someone who claims to be an academic, blatantly intolerant and nasty. This is a person who goes as far to tell people to fuck off if their opinions do not suit her agenda. You state ‘(Prerna) became the victim of this social media storm too where people don’t spare those with views conflicting with their own’, have you looked at her twitter account before you wrote this nonsense? I suspect not. Though most of her views warrant merit, she would benefit from discussion or debate rather than spewing hate to those who do not agree or have an alternative argument to her sentiments. Very one sided argument by you and after reading a lot of your ‘articles’ it seems that it is a common theme. I for one do not have any sympathy for Prerna until she engages her audience in a respectful way and does not lower herself to the trolls that she constantly talks about. I’ll sit patiently for the tirade of abuse and the name calling or profanities. I’m clearly a misogynist, apologist, right winger and a sexist (well, according to Prerna anyway). Yawn.

  4. Kalpana Sharma

    On a family level would you allow a stranger into your house because he or she is in need of help and slowly the stranger becomes a permanent member of your house and has equal rights on all the resources you have in your home. Be human and definitely help but the question is to what limit. on a national level we become more tolerant and humane because we don’t clearly see the threat to our security or resources being divided among strangers. follow the same rules you would follow in your house and immediate neighbourhood.
    but indecent language by people who disagree with perna’s views is really shameful. please stop it.

  5. Anirvan S

    Its really pathetic that the author is a trainee editor at YKA. Speaks a volume about the training being imparted at YKA camps. Sensationalist, that’s the only way to describe this article.
    For the author, do some research man before writing nonsense. Many political parties (not only BJP) have opposed the illegal immigrations that keeps happening through the openly porous Indo-Bangladesh border. Why does illegal immigration is called called so? You make a budget for 1.1 crore population then you have to feed another 1 million just because they have crossed over the border due to lack of food and resources in their own country!!
    I am a Bengali… one originally from west Bengal. When, after partition east Bengali came here to settle, it took them 5 decades to stand up on their feet, and although Bangladesh is supposed to be secular, most of Hindu Bengali population preferred to settle down in India.
    After 1971, Bangladesh had an open option to integrate with India. They preferred to be a separate nation. Now, 40 years after they fail tofeed thire own citizen and so extra population just crosses over?
    I don’t even want to go into the matter of terrorism and resource crunch haunting India due yo Bangladeshi stupidity.
    Prerna Bakshi is from New Delhi… quiet a far away from the Border. My native place is near the border… Murshidabad, look it up. I can say safely that Bangladeshi immigrants are illegal becuase they affect us in a big way, way biggeryhthan you or Prerna Bakshi’s puny brains can even imagine.
    Lastly, India has been historically a safe haven for many tribes and communities. But that’s because they came to become Indian from dar of lands due to being subject of prosecution. Not from our nearest neighbour because crossing border 30 miles away would provide greener pasture. Get you facts straight.

    Freedom of speech and expression is necessary, but also of utmost necessity is to use your brain when you exercise that right.

    And for god sake… learn to do some research as a trainee editor… how do you people even pass your exams??

  6. Kiran Kumar Vanam

    First of all you need to understand that there are so many kinds of people, they think differently. Just because some idiots tweeted indecently doesnt mean that every BJP fan is like that. I strongly request YKA to be non-partisan. We all knew you indirectly support a fledgling party. Please stop it and be a non-partisan media source.

  7. Kiran Kumar Vanam

    Media is responsible for all this hatred. There is no need to propogate this unconstitutional unethical behavior of few. You(media) go and ask Muslims/Christians/Hindus who do they going to vote? What is the necessity to do that? You are just adding salt to injury. Media is responsible for inducing religious feelings into young generation of India.

  8. shiva

    well planned script… lolz .. guys dnt spoil our country nd any religion @hinduRashtra.. might be a election strategy….shame!!!

  9. Utpala

    A very biased article. The writer has heard tit-bits from here and there to make this seem sensible. First, you showed a few pathetic comments which made bjp look like a secular party n this twitter user a victim. Branding a party and taking sides only makes YKA a biased social media rather than what it was supposed to be- impartial. And just check any website, we find morons everywhere n in every corner of this planet and that didn’t mean everyone is the same.
    Second, please ask your editors and writers to research a bit beyond fb and twitter because media is very powerful and ignorant media means leads to bigger disasters than you know.
    Third, please read about illegal immigration before writing such stupid stuff.

    1. Utpala

      Communal party*

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