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The recent tragic attacks in Pulwama, Kashmir which took the lives of more than 40 CRPF jawans left the entire nation grieving. Noted journalist Barkha Dutt shared her nuanced piece on Twitter regarding these attacks; however soon she was horribly trolled.
Some of these trolls also managed to get her phone number and sent her menacing messages, one of which included the picture of a male genital with a crude message attached to it. All this in the name of ‘love for the nation’.
Who are these people? Those fearless men who feel that war is solution to all problems. Respond to bloodshed with more bloodshed. And no, they are not the ones that will go on the front to face the bullets. They are only comfortable making faceless treats to women in the name of patriotism.
This is not the first time a woman has been mercilessly trolled for expressing an opinion that is different. However, this woman is a senior journalist and a recipient of the Padma Shri. Does she not deserve more respect? She stood with our army at Kargil, covering an ongoing war, putting herself in jeopardy – if anyone does have a right to express an opinion on the current issue, it is her.
Barkha Dutt has decided to not take any of this lying down. She has made all the numbers that sent threats to her public. She also requested Twitter to take actions against what looked like a coordinated hate campaign against her. She was supported by several people and Delhi Police responded by saying that they will track down all the numbers and take action.
In 2017, when Gurmehar Kaur, a martyr’s daughter had condemned war, she had been trolled by similar bullies. Fearing her safety, she had to leave town for a few months.
Where online media is a great invention which allows news to travel across the globe in minutes, it has also become a weapon for bullies. Due to the anonymity it offers, many use it as a way to intimidate anyone with whose opinion they do not agree. Intimidating women is their favourite past time.
It is about time that Twitter took serious note of how its platform is becoming a hotspot for cyber bullies. There is no responsibility attached to the user who feels free to express their views, against anyone, in whatever abusive form they want.
Dear Barkha, this fight is not yours alone, but of all those women whose right to express their opinion is being threatened, all those who have been told to shut up or else, all those who have been told their views are not important enough. We are with you.
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