For many years, Indian women have been victims of sexual violence. They have been encouraged to be vigilant of their honour. However, as time passed, many women broke the shackles of these customs and restrictions of their physical environment. They have tried to walk shoulder to shoulder with men demanding equal rights. Today, with the expansion of social media, both men and women have found their voices and a place to express themselves. Sadly, today, even the digital space is no longer safe for women. Nowadays, a new trend is picking up a pace where a person abuses, harasses, gives rape threats, intimidates, and when exposed in public, he or she uploads another video apologizing. One such case is of YouTuber Shubham Mishra.
Shubham Mishra, a 26-year-old Youtuber with the user name ‘badass Shubham’ took to Instagram and openly threatened stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua with rape in a video. The video shows him hurling abuses at Joshua because she joked about the statue of Shivaji Maharaj with GPS tracker and solar cell rays in 2019 in one of her acts. Mishra claims himself to be an ardent follower of Shivaji Maharaj, and uses crass language, asking netizens to teach Agrima a lesson.
Intimidated and probably terrified, she pulled down her video and apologized on Twitter. Her move was also influenced by Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who directed the police to take legal action against her. Disappointment arose when Deshmukh called for legal action against Joshua instead of Shubham Mishra.
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra shared Mishra’s video and demanded National Commission for Women’s support in seeking action against the YouTuber. Actress Swara Bhaskar took to social media and condemned his actions. She even called for a safe digital environment. Later, the Vadodara police, in a sou moto action, arrested Shubham Mishra. The move came after the NCW sought immediate action against him under the Information Technology Act of 2000. After facing backlash for his comments, Mishra deleted the video and apologized in an Instagram post.
Mishra has more than 3 lakh followers on YouTube and is a class 11 dropout. An ardent preacher of the values of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he has forgotten that his idol honoured women like goddesses and made sure that whoever disrespected them was subject to harsh punishments. Most of his videos have offensive content where he openly bullies people along with his close aide and former Big Boss contestant Hindustani Bhau. Earlier, the YouTuber slammed actress Neha Dhupia soon after she called out a contestant on the reality show Roadies for hitting his ex-girlfriend over cheating. He claimed that Dhupia should be assaulted by her own husband.
This is not the first time that women have been victims of cyberbullying. Recently, Alia Bhatt’s sister took to Instagram and shared a glimpse of the flack that she and her family received, including rape threats after Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide. It is high time that these social media giants take notice of the abusive content published on their platforms and block accounts of people like Shubham Mishra, Hindustani Bhau, and other perpetrators to create a safe digital space for women.