Ever since comedian Agrima Joshua was targeted by far-right trolls and goons following a political outcry against an old joke, comedians across the Indian comedy scene have been on the receiving end of bitter trolling, abuse and threats.
Joshua was trolled, abused and given rape threats for an old video in which she makes a joke regarding the yet to be built a statue of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea, based on what people were saying about it on Quora.
While the incessant trolling got the comedian to take down the video and apologise for hurting anyone's sentiments, it seems that the hate campaign against her refused to die down and even spread to target other comedians.
On Tuesday, comedian and former member of AIB, Rohan Joshi, took to Instagram to announce that he will be going offline for a few days after his phone number and address was leaked online. He and his family have since been harassed and heckled for nearly two days. "Going offline for a few days. Number and address have been leaked online so the past few days have a circus of abuse and threats, 2 am phone calls and anxious spirals," Joshi posted on his Instagram profile.
Joshi also went on to write, "I'm sorry if I've offended anyone with my words, and I apologise without any qualifications and reservations for any words that I may have spoken that hurt someone's religious sentiments," he said.
He ended the note on a plea to trolls. "Please leave my family alone".
A similar message was shared by comedian Vir Das on Twitter who claimed that the past few days have been tough on all comedians, including himself. Das started facing abuse after trolls dug up old videos of the artists, claiming he had made fun of Shivaji as well as Hindu religion.
In the last 24 hours. Myself and every comic I have spoken to, male and female have had threats, abusive messages and all sorts of filth. It's literally all of us going "yeah...same". Hang in there. Stay strong.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) July 14, 2020
"In the last 24 hours. Myself and every comic I have spoken to, male and female have had threats, abusive messages, and all sorts of filth. It's literally all of us going "yeah...same". Hang in there. Stay strong," Das wrote on Twitter.
Other comedians such as Sumukhi Suresh and Abish Mathew have also shared their outrage against the targeting of comedians.
You are NOT allowed to rape and threaten to rape us.
You are NOT allowed to sexually assault and threaten to do that.
You canNOT say “we respect ladies” and then tell us to “shut up or we will rape you and your mothers on the road”.
— Sumukhi Suresh (@sumukhisuresh) July 12, 2020
The incidences of violence and online abuse increased after far-right trolls found old videos of comedian Agrima Joshua. A YouTuber by the name of Shubham Mishra was recently arrested for publishing a rape threat and incitement to violence against the comedian.