Vivek Agnihotri is Deleting Old, Sexist Tweets Mocking Rape but Internet Won't Let Him Forget

Vivek Agnihotri seems to be a tweet-deleting spree | Image credit: Twitter

Vivek Agnihotri seems to be a tweet-deleting spree | Image credit: Twitter

Not only has Agnihotri mocked gang rape in past tweets but also made fun of Sita and Draupadi from Ramayana and Mahabharata respectively.

Even as the country is busy sanitizing their hands and belongings to fend of COVID-19, Bollywood director Vivek Agnihotri, seems to be on a sanitising spree of his own. The director, known for his controversial films and rash, borderline abusive and bigoted tweets. Has been deleting some of his most problematic posts from the microblogging platform Twitter.

The trend was pointed out by Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair who took to Twitter to share a screenshot of a tweet Agnihotri had posted in 2013.

In the crass and extremely problematic tweet, Agnihotri seems to be mocking gang rape and victims of gang-rape with a meme featuring a Tata Nano car. "What makes Nano the safest car for women?" he tweeted along with an image of a Tata Nano along with Ratan Tata with the words "there is simply no way to get gang-raped here" on it.

Amid discussions about the vapid and potentially fatal rape culture in urban India in wake of the 'Bois Locker Room' fiasco on Instagram, the tweets seem to once again be going viral, despite being deleted.

The tweet was before Agnihotri's book 'Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam' became an instant hit in post-Bharatiya Janata Party India with the government soon co-opting the term "Urban Naxal" to target left-wing and radical, anti-government activists and academics.

Since then, Agnihotri has come a long way in sanitising his image and aligning with the right-wing lobby on the Internet, becoming a poster boy for right-wing "intellectuals". Films like Buddha in a Traffic Jam (2016) which depicted "intellectual terrorism" and the nexus between academics and armed terrorists across India's cities and Tashkent Files (2019) which was based on conspiracy theories regarding the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri have helped him gain majoritarian favour and become a spokesperson of many a sexist, bigoted troll on social media.

But with the old Nano tweet resurfacing, many felt compelled to share it as a reminder of influencers such as Agnihoitri also contributed to rape culture. Some even tagged Delhi Commission for Women's Swati Maliwal in the tweets, urging her to take action.

What is shocking is that the tweet was posted on Oct 23, 2013, at a time when Indians were outraged against the Mumbai gang-rape, also known as the Shakti Mills gang-rape case in which a 22-year-old photojournalist was brutally gang-raped by five men in August. In October, the rape was still dominating news cycles with newer allegations coming up against the rapists as yet another woman, a call centre employee, alleged she too had been gang-raped in the deserted premises. It also came about ten months after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape of "Nirbhaya" which led to nation-wide protests and an amendment in yje country's rape laws. The Nano tweet wasn't the only problematic tweet that the filmmaker seems to have deleted. Netizens dug up many such archived tweets that had since been deleted with several carrying sexual innuendoes and misogynistic undertones.

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