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Trolls justifying Kolkata metro assault are wrong

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A young couple travelling on the Kolkata Metro was reportedly harassed and thrashed by some of their co-passengers for “being too close”.

While many sensible voices on social media condemned the incident, there were a few who justified the attack on the couple.

Here’s what these trolls are saying and why they are wrong:


Troll Attack 1: The couple was not behaving in accordance with Indian culture

But what is Indian culture? Harassing people you disagree with? Spreading hatred? Public lynching? Outraging the modesty of a woman?

No, Indian culture is about peace and harmony, tolerance and inclusion.

These self-appointed flagbearers of Indian culture don’t move a muscle when women are molested in public places. But a consensual act of a couple – who were merely embracing each other – is seen as more depraved than a man forcing himself upon a woman against her will.

Forget any notions of ‘morality’, let’s look at the issue legally. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has no clear definition of what can be construed as obscene. But common sense tells us that standing close to someone (consensually) and holding hands isn’t a vulgar act and therefore not a criminal offence under section 294 of the IPC.

If standing too close to each other is obscene then everybody in a Mumbai local during rush hour is a criminal.

Troll Attack 2: Modi/Mamata responsible

Some left-wing trolls would want you to believe that such shameful incidents of moral policing have only started after May 2014. Then there are right-wing trolls, who hold Mamata Banerjee responsible for the deteriorating law and order in West Bengal since she has been the state’s chief minister.

Both are WRONG. Incidents of mob violence and moral policing are mindset problems and not political ones.

Troll attack 3: Media doesn’t highlight issues of West Bengal as much it highlights the ones in BJP-ruled states.

Trolls accuse the media of going soft on Banerjee and not taking her to task as much as it does chief ministers of states where the BJP is in power.

That makes no sense, because even this incident was highlighted by the media, and not by the couple that was harassed.

Updated: May 3, 2018 — 8:51 am

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