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Chennai Journalist Files Case Against Abusive Trolls

The case comes a day after other cases of stalking led to massive outrage in north India. In Chennai, the case relates to trolls who took umbrage with Dhanya Rajendran's tweet that expressed her opinion about a movie.


Updated:August 9, 2017, 9:48 PM IST
Chennai Journalist Files Case Against Abusive Trolls
File photo of Dhanya Rajendran. Image: Twitter

Chennai: The Chennai cyber crime police have taken up a case of online abuse, after fans of a filmstar trolled a woman journalist with abuses over the last three days.

The case comes a day after other cases of stalking led to massive outrage in north India. In Chennai, the case relates to trolls who took umbrage with a woman journalist's single tweet that expressed her opinion about a movie.

Dhanya Rajendran, Editor of thenewsminute.com, had tweeted on August 4 that she felt Shah Rukh Khan's new movie Jab Harry Met Sejal was worse than Tamil hero Vijay's film, Sura. In a matter of hours, over 31,000 tweets trended hashtag #publicitybeepDhanya, leading to a torrent of abuse from Vijay's fans, that included name-calling, threats of rape and personal attacks. Incidentally, none of Shah Rukh Khan fans had any issue with her expressing her opinion.

After three days of relentless trolling on social media, Dhanya filed a complaint with the Chennai police commissioner that included proof of derogatory tweets. "The tweet was an opinion without being rude or aggressive. Immediately, what followed was a spate of abuse, personal, sexual, threatening tweets and cyber-stalking," she stated in her complaint.

An FIR has been registered against unnamed people, under non-bailable offences.

In a social media post after the complaint, Dhanya said: "FIR filed. I may have done a lot of things you don't like or do not appreciate. You don't like my stories, jokes or plain stupid stuff I did. Criticise me, question my ethics... But please never use that to support abuse and sexual threats in any way. By doing that, we strengthen anonymous mobs. Yesterday was tough. Cops wanted us to give them the worst tweets. Reading thru it was a horrible experience. When I left the station, I thought of the trauma that actual sexual violence victims go thru. Mine is nothing compared to that. I am very very very thankful to a bunch of friends and my family. Thank you."

Some of the trolls even got support from Twitter handles of the ruling AIADMK's OPS faction's social media cell. Joint Secretary of the IT wing Hari Prabhakaran said Thalapathy (as actor Vijay is popularly known) fans are "giving it back in a positive way" and proclaimed that some journalists are trying to "beautify their publicity."

Responding to the case, Vijay said, "n society, I respect women the most .. whoever have a rights to describe whatever the movie according to their wish.In my opinion, Whatever the circumstances, no one should reveal contemptuous or disgraceful comments on woman. I urge everyone for not to post anything in internet with the instinct that harms women."

Working president of the Opposition DMK MK Stalin condemned the abuse, tweeting, "Intolerance in any form, for expressing one views in a democratic country is unacceptable. These acts to strangulate the Freedom of Expression especially of a women (sic) journalist in Chennai is highly deplorable and condemnable. Rule of Law must take prompt measures in curbing this menace."

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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