Behave responsibly on social media


A woman mourns the death of her family members killed in a mob attack on Sunday on suspicion of being part of a child-kidnapping gang at Rainpada Village in Dhule, Maharashtra, , July 2

“The government can’t make people love me, but it can keep them from lynching me.” While vacationing in Europe’s verdant valleys, one of my friends was reminded of these words by Martin Luther King Junior. The reason? Time and again, he was asked in a veiled manner whether Indians were a nation of rapists and blood-thirsty people. In response, he narrated glorious stories right from our ancient civilization to modern-day economic progress, to no avail.

The reason behind this humiliation was the report by Thomson Reuters Foundation in which India was ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for women. Needless to say, he returned home to India with a heavy heart.

Now consider the news developments last week. A man who flaunts his devotion to Lord Rama on his Twitter bio, threatened a lady spokesperson of the Congress and tweeted: “I want to rape your daughter. Send your daughter to me.” I was shocked when I read this. How can somebody who calls himself a devotee of Ram, write or even harbour such shameful thoughts? Ram is a symbol of dignity in Indian culture. Anybody who carries out such a threat on Twitter hasn’t just betrayed Ram but is also a coward. As soon as the Mumbai police registered a case against him, he closed his account and disappeared. The man has since been arrested. But the question is, do these irresponsible individuals realise the extent of disservice they are doing to the country’s image?

It isn’t that the targets of these miscreants are limited to politicians in the opposition. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was also in their cross-hairs. In the case relating to Lucknow’s Tanvi and Anas, while replying to a tweet, the kind of humiliation that trolls heaped on her is something even her enemies won’t agree with. Swaraj has always acted with dignity in her political journey. Such vicious attacks on her can evoke feelings of dismay and shock.