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2

This thing has gone on long enough. Thanks to extremely targeted promotion of one tweet, many BJP supporters who accuse me of it get used to unintentionally participate in a sexualized trolling campaign by BJP's gutter wing. Several have apologized after coming to know the full story. So, this post is addressed to Modi fans - bhakts in common parlance who may or may not be intentionally engaging in something they would otherwise find obscene.

This post is not a defense of that tweet. I do not feel sorry for it and I stand by it and it has not been answered to date. It is merely the larger picture around the tweet that allows you to make an informed choice on how low you are willing to fall in order to attack people.

Since I have finally been able to download my tweet archive, here is the series of tweets relevant in that scenario. Some are from me, some are from others. Some supporting me, some attacking me, some by me attacking the trolls as well as BJP's signature sexualized trolling. To be noted here is that since this happened, I have also seen supporters of AAP doing this on occasion, but the overwhelming "market leader" continues to be BJP.

There is good reason to believe that this behavior is part of BJP's media strategy given the revelations in Operation Blue Virus stings, the fact that the Gujarat government under Modi explicitly created social media budgets (at Gujarat state expense) and that some of the most abusive profiles are followed by our Prime Minister's Twitter account - independently verifiable.

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It was election time and anonymous handles supporting BJP were out in full force. These handles execute organized trolling attacks on critics of BJP using a combination of statements taken out of context and interpreted to create offense, false accusations and sexual insults - particularly against women critical of BJP. These tweets are also used to incite regular followers of BJP against critics and create an overall sense of BJP being wrongfully under attack.

This is not a new thing. However, it seems to be escalating and I chose to not accept the defiling and deliberate hostile environment that is aimed at silencing criticism of BJP. Over the week leading to this, I as well as several other women had been the targets of extremely obscene attacks by the "bhakts" as they are called for their unreasoning worship of Modi and relentless attacks on his critics.

The nature of these organized attacks is to intimidate or shame women into silence. Some of the tweets spoke of me having 10 fathers. Earlier I had been asked about the "rate" I charge for my son - implying I prostitute him to pedophiles. I have been accused of being a "lesbian" (it is apparently an insult in bhakt lingo). The broom shoved between my legs has featured in many sneering insults (implying sexual favors to the Aam Aadmi Party). And more.

These are 100 tweets from that day, removing irrelevant replies or comments.

 

 

 

This is where shit hit fan.

BJP supporters started targeting me with insults. I replied to some, ignored others, etc.

It was one of these tweets that got a reply telling me that I "open my legs for Kejriwal". When I was told that I "open my legs" for Kejriwal (the week before that it was promoting me as the date for AAP politician Ashutosh for the kissing festival) and more, I asked back if it was normal for women in BJP to "open your legs" for Modi. Was that why BJP supporters kept assuming sexual favors to politicians in the actions of women who didn't support Modi?

 

 

A second tag floated by @AListRap started trending as people got angry with the content on #OpenYourLegs

And then I did what I often do to tags that bully people. How could I do any less than that for myself?

I participated the tag, disrupted it and turned its tone.

Many people were also furious. Angad Singh blogged about what had happend on The Young Indian blog.

https://twitter.com/waterfiresand/statuses/528594279325655041

 

Even BJP supporters were apalled in their own ways.

 

 

And there were a few who got uncomfortable, but couldn't bring themselves to quite say that sexualized trolling is wrong, but still thought it should not be done because it gives "publicity" to me. Yeah. Strategy backfiring is a problem. Abusing women should be fine.

Rattled trolls made me a target of a solid 3 day campaign of sleaze. The quote "open your legs" which was quoted originally from an accusation leveled at me (by a female profile) became a meme. Tweets ranged from the mundane "hey bitch #openyourlegs" to elaborate poems, jokes and more.

 

The tag continues to get criticism

But it isn't only me. Every woman with a real profile who criticises BJP meets this treatment sooner or later and at the same time from a horde of handles. Yesterday it was Sonakshi Sinha (who happens to be the daughter of Shatrugan Sinha - a BJP leader currently not kowtowing to high command) and Sonam Kapoor. But it is pretty normal for those who dislike BJP to face such attacks.

This is what you end up participating in, when you believe you are oh so defending. Because you're the cannon fodder to be fed information selectively so you will participate in a hostile mob. Whether you want to be used or not is your headache.

The abusive tweets are always made from anonymous profiles, they always defend BJP and they are never asked to exercise caution by any real BJP profile. The strategy of deniable bullying reaping profits for the party continues and it will continue till the masses decide that this is not acceptable for us.

It is not acceptable for me. I will not be intimidated into silence.

In any case, you, your shift and your overtime cannot shut me up.

66

Dear Aamir Khan,

This is about a video of you on the subject of All India Bakchod's Knockout Roast. I agree with many views you expressed. I think it was juvenile, offensive, irresponsible. I agree that being profane for the sake of being profane is not funny. I agree that jokes about identity, color of skin or sexual orientation - particularly blunt, outright insults - are not funny. I saw the Roast. Some of it was funny, some in bad taste. It had multiple content warnings like you can't miss.

I appreciate that you stressed the extent of the right to object, in terms of expressing your dislike and requesting that the offensive speech be discontinued.

If you had kept it at that, I would not have a problem with your views. As someone speaking up for Free Speech for years now, I have a problem when you put the onus of not offending on the speaker with your talk of the creator having responsibility and oh so virtuous nonsense about "dil dukhana" and what not. You claim to be a responsible creator, yet I distinctly recollect speaking up to defend your film PK (which I haven't seen yet) from people who were outraged by whatever insult they perceived in it.

If the responsibility of not offending falls on the creator of the content, then perhaps you are not as ideal as you seemed to imply with the Delhi Belly example and perhaps should have added content warnings of another sort "Caution: Religion discussed here" etc and people objecting should have requested you with folded hands, etc. You know first hand what happens when angry people don't like content. Do you see the anger as your fault?

The opinions you expressed seemed to lack the gravity of understanding. The situation was beyond saying "please" FIRs were filed. There were threats, intimidation. The All India Bakchod videos are offline and they are busy issuing apologies left, right and center. At this point, when you speak of them being responsible for offending, it is the same as saying you are responsible for the vandalized theaters. How you think offense should be expressed is irrelevant when you speak after it has already been expressed. Who you blame can still be applicable and do much damage to free speech overall. "Even Aamir Khan said that you should not offend people".

It isn't the polite requests to desist that are the problem with Free Speech - the subject of the controversy and reason you were asked to comment at all. It is because lives and property are routinely harmed. Voices are silenced. The issue is way bigger than a juvenile video or what you or I think about it, when you expand your opinion into a blanket responsibility on the creator for "Who is responsible for hurt sentiments?"

Because, that question also answers who is responsible for Perumal Murugan being hounded or Shirin Dalvi having to go underground and her newspaper shut down or theaters showing PK being vandalized - with the WRONG ANSWER. People may not follow your guidelines on asking politely, but they will have no problem appropriating your words on the responsibility of those they want to silence to not anger them.

That is how FIRs get filed and threats made and you get invited to comment on a "wrong" done EVEN AFTER APOLOGIES AND THE VIDEO BEING PULLED DOWN. Way past the time for "Please, Sorry, Thank you". Your words end up endorsing intolerance by legitimizing people being offended and having the right to expect the creator to discontinue. You may accept that as your limit, but if others did, then Free Speech wouldn't be a rights issue, it would be a talk show where everyone shares opinions and goes home happy.

When a large voice like yours tells people that people speaking must be careful, and people who get offended can ask them to stop, a thousand voices like mine get raw throats trying to talk sanity on the issue and explain why it is not okay to shut people up just because you don't like what they say. "but even Aamir Khan agrees..." The louder the voice, the more power to heal or damage it has. I request you to be careful with where you lay blame.

Out of stray curiosity and as a side note, I want to ask you if you asked Karan and Arjun to not propagate the videos of the event further - like showing clips to people, like you saw, or putting on youtube - since that is the method you are recommending and you also say that you thought the show was offensive. If you did it, and they listened, perhaps this whole situation wouldn't have happened?

A blogger who cares for the Freedom of Expression.

Vidyut

5

As the magic 49 number of days of Modi sarkar comes to a close, it has been a good journey. Looking back at some of the hilarious points of what is fast coming to be known as the U-Turn sarkar.

Should India be entertaining Pakistani VIPs if there is conflict at the border?

That is how the Modi sarkar began. Before, Modi had only contempt for Manmohan Singh's sarkar that apparently did not retaliate strongly enough to Indian soldiers being killed at the border. That too, in Telugu, it seems.

Modi blasts Manmohan Singh for taking killings at the LoC lightly
Modi blasts Manmohan Singh for taking killings at the LoC lightly

Modi himself had refused the evil Pakistanis in a massive demonstration of patriotic solidarity. Little did Dr. Manmohan Singh know that when people say his silence was a problem, they mean it. He could have tried something as simple as inviting Pakistan's Prime Minister for an important national function. Like so:

Modi on LoC conflicts and relations with Pakistan before and after
Modi on LoC conflicts and relations with Pakistan before and after

Or perhaps I may be wrong, and this may not be a patriotic move so much as the first installment on the election campaign expenses. Even as the poor beheaded jawan's wife was protesting. Sometimes greater good has to be seen.

Modi's sponsor Adani wants to sell power to Pakistan
Modi's sponsor Adani wants to sell power to Pakistan

But at least Modi was right about the other borders I think. Illegal Bangladeshis are such a nuisance. Modi was right to threaten to deport them

Bangladeshis were to be deported before elections
Bangladeshis were to be deported before elections

 

but there is a problem. After all, he'd just invited their Prime Minister for his coronation. So he at least tried to get rid of the "illegal" from it, if not deporting.

Visa-free entry to Bangladeshis under 18 years and over 65 years
Visa-free entry to Bangladeshis under 18 years and over 65 years

The solution was so simple, one must really wonder why Dr. Mannu never thought of it. Simply allow them visa free entry - voila! Now they can stay where they are legally!!!

This Modi sarkar is pure genius, I tell you.

What about that evil Gandhi bloodline (excluding the pure blood of Varun Gandhi, BJP). Dr. Subramanian Swamy had Priyanka Gandhi red handed. Multiple DINs! That evil witch and that Karti Chidambaram!!!

 

Appropriately terrified, Priyanka Gandhi confessed to making multiple applications and offered to pay the fine (and nicely ignored the jail time, thank you very much).

But wait. That was before. Now that Modi sarkar is in place, the greater efficiency showed that Priyanka Vadra may have applied as many times as she liked, but the super efficient (retrospectively as well) Ministry of Corporate affairs had actually issued her only one DIN. What a DIN about DINs. Just like Nitin Gadkari (No, you can't check now, the extra DINs nicely show "not yet issued" now that a better government is in place.)

Oops! Priyana Vadra and Karti Chidambaram had only one DIN each
Oops! Priyana Vadra and Karti Chidambaram had only one DIN each. Fooled ya!

Modi sarkar had Vadra terrified while UPA2 was in rule.

Vadra security privileges - before
Vadra security privileges - before

Then, as they campaigned, they probably thought a panicked Vadra would fight too hard to defeat them, so they kinda.... reassured.

Action against Vadra or no? Election Campaign
Action against Vadra or no? Election Campaign

And never let it be said BJP goes back on its word. Robert Vadra remains unscathed.

What about Robert Vadra's security exemptions?
What about Robert Vadra's security exemptions?

They had even terrified the couple together. Imagine losing security privileges and having to go through security checks at airports? I bet the couple lost sleepless nights.

Modi Sarkar has brought acche din to the country.

Jaitlet had thought that the Income Tax exemption slab should be raised to 5 lakh before the elections. Now that he got to present the budget, he raised it to 2.5 lakh.

 

What should the IT exemption slab be? Beore and after
What should the IT exemption slab be? Beore and after

Hey! No need to get outraged! If you ignore the decimal point, 25 is five times 5.

What about investments in railways?

Everything perfect on that front. Just watch.

What about the railways? Before and after
What about the railways? Before and after

We have no hesitation in telling you that UPA2 would have totally messed up the privatization of railways and FDI, but now that it is a BJP sarkar and BJP no longer plays dog in the manger with the government, many things that UPA2 wanted to do are now possible without BJP staging a walkout against itself.

Still not convinced? You are a cynical sickular. Try this.

Modi railway hike before and after
Modi railway hike before and after

Oh wait. I meant this.

uday-lalit-amit-shah-after

Amazing, isn't it, the things you can do when you can get a dozen newspapers to publish near identical articles without sources that can push things that happened before the election aside? Like this one?

Did Uday Lalit represent Amit Shah? Before
Did Uday Lalit represent Amit Shah? Before

There are many, many such gems. And you cannot blame BJP. After all, they have delivered the only real promise they made before the election - Modi as PM. To avoid confusion, they even avoided publishing a manifesto as far as possible.

So you really cannot claim that they cannot do U-Turns.

Welcome to the opening innings of U-Turn sarkar. May the remaining period be as hilarious as so far... and may worries about the country never plague your dazzled brain.

Note: This post actually has a lot of things missing (mostly because I got tired of doing screenshots). Feel free to nominate your favorites to this collection in the comments. I will update as and when I am back in the mood to play screenshot-screenshot.

Some ideas to get you started. Google up what Jaitley thought about declassifying the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 war before and after the elections

Arun Jaitley's U-Turn on the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 war
Arun Jaitley's U-Turn on the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 war

or Aadhaar cards, or.... you get the idea? Or you could try non-specific U-Turns like strict action against criminal politicians, inflation, using ordinances in non-emergencies and the infamous "Acche Din"!

Let's see what you come up with.

You're welcome.

1

Rakesh Sharma, producer of award winning documentary on the Gujarat riots called the Final Solution has issued an urgent press release protesting false claims made by Anupam Kher with regard to his film. Since MSM is unlikely to broadcast these, readers of this blog are urged to spread the message and demand accountability from CNN-IBN and Times Now. The Press Release is as follows.

It has been brought to my notice that Mr Anupam Kher, ex-Chairman, CBFC has been making patently false claims about the sequence of events surrounding the ban on my film Final Solution (on the Gujarat 2002 carnage) during his tenure. It seems that on Times Now (April 16) and CNN-IBN (April 17), Mr Kher, while engaging in debates with Anand Patwardhan, said:

a. The film was ‘cleared’ while the BJP (NDA) was still the ruling party b. He was personally responsible for ‘clearing’ the film. c. His actions filled me with immense gratitude.

Mr Kher seems to be suffering either from serious memory lapses or is indulging in his age-old affliction of ‘creativitis’, merrily distorting and falsifying facts to score points in a live TV debate. Even though his claims are too ridiculous to be dignified with any response, I do so in the interests of setting the record straight.

(All documents can be seen here:https://www.facebook.com/notes/rakesh-sharma-final-solution-other-films-upcoming-work-and-more/final-solution-censor-ban-ruling-facts-on-record/196593510407145)

Details-at-a-glance:

1. Final Solution was submitted to the CBFC in March-April 2004, while the NDA was in power.

2. Right from the start, CBFC tried to harass the film-maker by raising all sorts of objections concerning the submission of the application itself (eg, ‘improper’ binding of the script, typefaces etc).

3. Ever since its international premiere at the Berlin International film festival on Feb 5, 2004, the film started getting invitations to several filmfests as well as many awards. At Berlinale itself, the film got 2 awards, including the Staudte Award (now known as Golden Bear for Best Debut), which has never gone to a documentary before or ever since.

The CBFC responded by sending two legal notices to the film-maker on matters outside its purview (customs and foreign exchange related violations for international film festival screenings). The CBFC was formally advised that it had no jurisdiction and these notices were malafide.

4. After many representations to CBFC, an Examining Committee was finally convened on July 30, 2004 where the film was denied certifications and thus ‘banned’. Their exact ruling text can be found on the URL above.

5. Apprehending such a possibility, we had requested 2 independent journalists (The Telegraph and Mid-Day) to unobtrusively be present at CBFC (with an asstt director) to observe the entire process. The committee took less than 3 hours to watch the film, hold extensive discussions and then draft a ruling citing all relevant legal provisions therein. The problem: The film was over 3.5 hours long! Both the journalists published details of this sham the next day. I personally wrote to Mr Kher at CBFC on Aug 4, 2004 (letter available on URL above).

6. By this time, at the centre, a UPA government was sworn in following NDA’s defeat in the national elections. I now approached Mr Jaipal Reddy, Minister for I & B, urging him to invoke a rarely-used provision of the Cinematograph Act, to overturn the CBFC’s partisan ruling. In subsequent meetings with him and senior officers of the Ministry, I also demanded stringent action against the CBFC personnel involved in illegal and malfide actions.

7. Following serious protests by the documentary film-makers fraternity, and after the Ministry's own internal inquiries into the episode, Regional Officer Mr Singla was reverted to his parent cadre, permanently removed from the CBFC. Assistant RO Amitabh Sharma was transferred from CBFC, Mumbai to CBFC, Cuttack. As this action was being finalized in Delhi, Mr Kher saw the writing on the wall.

8. He called me and urged me to re-apply; I declined on the grounds that the CBFC had never seen the film in its entirety. Applying to a Revising Committee was tantamount to sanctifying the illegal and partisan proceedings of the earlier committee. One he failed to have me re-apply, Mr Kher took a suo moto decision to convene a special committee, headed by the noted director Shyam Benegal, which cleared the film without a single cut.

9. 4-5 days after this, Mr Kher was summarily sacked by the Government of India. He accused 'documentary film-makers' of orchestrating his removal, strangely claiming credit for clearing my film, while attacking me for my lack of ‘gratitude’. At the time, I rebutted all his claims, even calling his regime one of the worst tenures in the history of CBFC (reported extensively by all leading newspapers in mid Oct, 2004).

I am deeply shocked to find that Mr Kher is once again claiming credit for ‘clearing’ my film in his TV studio discussions! Factually speaking, Mr Kher and his coterie of partisan officers first harassed me, while refusing to schedule the film for a CBFC panel screening. When they finally did so, it was done with utter malintent, hurrying the ban on the film. Mr Kher is believed to have personally called up the Police Commissioner, Bangalore to prevent a public screening of my film as the curtain raiser to the Films for Freedom Festival in Bangalore on July 29, 2004, a day before the CBFC ‘banned’ the film.

If Mr Kher’s conduct as Chairman, CBFC was less than professional and even partisan, his behavior now defies credulity. His rightwing beliefs are too well-documented to bear repetition here. His association with Panun Kashmir and his proximity to the BJP too have been in public realm. His attempts to present himself as some sort of champion of free speech as the CBFC chairman amount to sheer duplicity and dishonesty.

I’d, in fact, prefer him to resort to the truth and proudly claim his role in preventing public screenings of my film as well as denying it a censor certificate through a carefully-planned drama on July 30, 2004.

I do hope you carry this clarification and invite me to rebut the next time Mr Kher is invited!

Vishal Saini and Harmeet Singh of Webstreaks, Derawal Nagar, New Delhi are forthcoming and tell how the BJP had run a negative publicity campaign against Congress and has come up triumphant.

They will mention local issues in our campaign showing the negative side of the incumbent government. Saini claims: “Negative chahiye uske andar … agar wo Congress hai toh BJP ki nikali jayegi (You want negative campaign … if it is Congress then the BJP’s loopholes will be brought into open).”

In other words, social media cuts both sides.

There will be best posts and reviews in your favour, and there would be a separate team for the job. Saini promises to create 10 lakh likes on Netaji’s Facebook page: “Haan teek hai dus lakh ke aas paas tak likes chahiye (Yes … all right if you want about 10 lakh likes).” Negative feedback, if any, would be immediately deleted by Saini’s team. These likes will be generated both manually and using a software. The likes thus created will be a mix of genuine and dummy.

His friend Harmeet Singh explains how they will do negative campaign against Netaji’s opponent: “Ek aur cheez ho sakti hai iss kaam mein ki jaise page hum apni positivity show karne ke liye kar rahe hain na … wahi cheez hum unki negativity show karne ke liye ek alag page banayein … ki jaise matalb … why not choose … why not elect Congress … yahan pe (One more thing can be done … we can create a page to show negativity of that fellow the same as way we are creating a page to show our positivity … I mean, for example, tell them why not choose … why not elect Congress … here).”

Harmeet gives an idea how they can destroy the reputation of our political opponent with the help of a video: “… hum kya kar sakte hain ek teen minute ka sarhe teen minute ka … wo bana liya … ijkse andar uske jitne kaale kaam hain wo likhte rahenge aur usko itne aise ache artistic tareeke se dikhaya ki banda bore bhi nahin ho raha aur dekh bhi raha hai … pehle image aa rahi hai fir text aa raha hai … ye dekho ye isne kiya hai iska saboot ye raha … ye isne kiya hai iska saboot ye raha (… what we can do is we can make a three-minute or three-and-a-half minute long video … in which we will describe all his misdeeds … and this will be depicted in such an artistic way that the visitors will not get bored watching it … the image will show up first, then will follow the text … [telling the watcher] look the fellow has done this and the proof is here).”

This video will be uploaded and promoted through viral marketing, chips in Saini. It is like spreading rumour. An example of this viral marketing, according to Saini, is the recent riots that took place in Muzaffar Nagar of Uttar Pradesh.

Viral marketing against our opponent will be done using a fake ID and assembled laptop. Listen to Saini: “Viral marketing ke liye ek bilkul fake ID … laptop assembled (For viral marketing [we will use] a fake ID … an assembled laptop).” Both the fake ID and the laptop used thus are destroyed after they have served their purpose, without leaving a trace.

I don't actually see a problem with detailing wrongdoings of election candidates - as long as the wrongs are real and not invented slander. However, the need to use fake IDs and disposable laptops clearly indicates that the videos may not be above board.