New Delhi, Sep 7: What is more cruel, inhuman and outrageous--the ghastly murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh or the blatant and shameful celebrations of the heinous crime by using some of the worst cuss words one could ever imagine on social media?
Yes, you have heard it right. Many on social media, who are known as trolls, rejoiced the death of the 55-year-old editor of the popular Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike, known for its anti-establishment stand.
During her lifetime, Lankesh had vociferously spoken and written against the rise of communalism and right-wing politics and supported the causes of Dalits, women and transgenders.
In doing so, she made several friends and equal number of enemies. Only a few months ago, a court in Karnataka convicted her in a criminal defamation case filed by a few Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. She was out on bail.
When she was alive, she had on many occasions spoke that she knew that forces against her want her to be "silenced". Probably, deep-within Lankesh felt that like scholar and rationalist from Dharwad, MM Kalburgi, she would be one day killed by her opponents. But as she was a brave and a firebrand spokesperson of minority voices, Lankesh did not took threats too seriously.
On Tuesday evening, when the news of her murder by unidentified assailants at her home in Bengaluru came to light, many took to Twitter to express their shock, anger and pain at the horrific and bone-chilling crime done with great impunity. Then there were many who welcomed the news with great happiness.
Sample this tweet:
The Twitter user identified herself as a journalist and she is also a woman like Lankesh. The "messenger of hatred" strongly feels that it was Lankesh's "karma" because of which she was killed.
Thus, in a way, for people like Jagrati Shukla, murders are fine if one is a "commi" (communist) and had allegedly committed "bad karma".
Then there was another tweet by a man named Nikhil Dadhich, who introduces himself as a "businessman, garments manufacturer, Hindu nationalist" and says: "Honored To Be Followed By PM Sh. @narendramodi Ji."
Dadhich tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday night that a ***** (a word that means a canine but is also used as an expletive) had died a dog's death and all the pups were bawling. The tweet had two winking emoticons with their tongues sticking out.
The tweet has been deleted after it was criticised widely for use of such derogatory words, which many can't even utter to their horror. The one more "hater" of Lankesh, Dadhich takes great pride in being followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the most popular world leaders on Twitter.
Perhaps that is why like those killers, Dadhich had no fear before posting such a malicious tweet about a slain journalist who was just killed. Thus many journalists and activists on Wednesday asked Modi to take note of whom he is following as it brings great disgrace to his chair.
"A person called Nikhil Dadhich, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, wrote that all the pups were raging against the death of a dog. Will the Prime Minister care to explain what is his compulsion behind following such people?'' asked journalist Ravish Kumar, during a meeting to protest the killing of Lankesh in Delhi.
Moreover, PM Modi is yet to tweet on the murder of Lankesh which has already become a big political issue in the country. Modi is currently out of India, but on September 5 he had tweeted three tweets to wish teaching community of India on the occasion of Teacher's Day.
On Teachers' Day, I salute the teaching community that is devoted to nurturing minds & spreading the joys of education in society.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 4, 2017
Hours after the murder, information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani posted a tweet and said, "Condemn killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. Hope speedy investigation is conducted and justice delivered. Condolences to the family."
Otherwise, hardly anyone from the ruling BJP spoke about the murder that witnessed large-scale protests across the nation. However, as the bile against Lankesh continued unabated on social media, late on Wednesday evening, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad decided to condemn the "happiness expressed on the dastardly murder".
"I strongly condemn & deplore the messages on social media expressing happiness on the dastardly murder of #Gaurilankesh. Expressing happiness on the killing of anyone is shameful, regrettable and totally against Indian traditions. Social media is not for that," tweeted Prasad.