Activist abused and threatened with rape on Rediff.com live chat that was organised to discuss anti-rape protest
By Team FI
Social activist Kavita Krishnan has demanded a public apology from the website Rediff.com in regard to the degrading and violent messages addressed to her during a chat organised by the news portal. Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, was contacted by Rediff.com to participate in a live chat on April 23, 2013, which invited participants to interact with an activist involved in the anti-rape protests.
The chat took place in her office from 2 pm to 3 pm when at one point, one of the participants with the handle RAPIST began to post offending and malicious threats. “In one ‘question’ he said, “Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape them.” The same man then posted another question several times: “Kavita tell me where I should come and rape you using condom.” Both questions were in block capitals and very visible,” said Krishnan.
Rediff.com’s Ganesh Nadar, responded at first saying that live chats cannot be screened. “This I know for a fact is not true since I have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to spot the ‘RAPIST’ because there were ‘so many questions.’ I find this difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters and the questions were also in capitals. Yet, no one from Rediff did anything to screen such offensive questions, or to block someone with a handle of ‘RAPIST’ from the chat!” said Krishnan.
Krishnan has demanded a public apology from Rediff.com. “Condoning and allowing such intimidating behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation, and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to keep ‘RAPIST’ out of the chat,” accused Krishnan.
Krishnan has also asked Rediff.com file an FIR and help to investigate the identity of the offender. She was informed that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the chat and are filing an FIR with the screenshot being sent to cyber crime labs in Worli, Mumbai. Though she has not received the screenshot as yet, she informs that Rediff.com has posted the transcript of the chat with a “(non) apology of sorts.”