Right-wing Men Bash Woman Writer on Twitter

Meena Kandasamy- Beef Festival

Poet, writer and activist Meena Kandasamy was the target of brutal, violent and sexist hate campaign on Twitter objecting to her comments on a beef-eating festival at Osmania University, Hyderabad

By Team FI

Network of Women in Media India (NWMI), an organisation for women journalists in India issued a press statement today, strongly condemning the violent abuse of writer and activist Meena Kandasamy on twitter by a few right-wing Hindu fundamentalists.

Meena Kandasamy had attended a beef festival organised by the students of Osmania University on 15th April. The beef festival was held in order to highlight “Food Fascism” enforced by the Hindu fundamentalist organisations across India. The abuse – threats of violence and sexual abuse began when Meena tweeted about the festival.

Here is the statement issued by NWMI in support of Meena Kandasamy.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), strongly condemns the violent and sexist abuse unleashed on poet, writer, activist and translator Meena Kandasamy, presumably in response to her posts on Twitter about the beef-eating festival at Osmania University, Hyderabad, on 15 April 2012 and the ensuing clashes between groups of students.

After her comments on Twitter, she was threatened with various forms of violence, including gang rape and acid attacks. Some placed a price on her head. Others threatened her freedom of speech, saying that she would not be allowed to speak anywhere, and called for her prosecution for allegedly outraging religious feelings under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code. In over a hundred tweets, she was called a whore, characterless, a terrorist and a bitch. One of the most objectionable comments was that she should be raped on live television, this barbaric idea was put out by one Siddharth Shankar who followed it up with more vicious filth.

Meena Kandasamy has become the target of a vicious abuse campaign on twitter and other sites for her support to the festival during which she and other students had to be escorted to a safe place under police escort. Protestors even stoned the van they were traveling in. It is highly condemnable that her support of a food festival should lead to demands for her prosecution and a bounty on her head.

As a professional network of women journalists, the NWMI is firmly committed to freedom of expression and, indeed, supports ongoing efforts to ensure that the Internet remains a free space and is not subjected to censorship. However, freedom comes with responsibility and all those who value free speech must, at the very least, censure hate speech.

Everyone in a democracy has a right to hold and express their opinions on current events and issues. Similarly, everyone has a right to disagree with and argue against the opinions of others. Debate – not abuse and threats – is the democratic means to deal with conflicting views on contentious topics: in this case, the right to choose what to eat and not eat.
It appears that Meena Kandasamy has been singled out for abuse at least partly because she is a bold and outspoken woman who expresses her opinions freely in the public sphere. The fact that she is a dalit, especially one whose work focuses on caste annihilation, linguistic identity and feminism, clearly makes her even more of a target.

We call upon all those who value freedom of expression to join us in condemning the online attack on Meena Kandasamy and to explore ways to ensure that everyone has a right to express their opinion – on the Internet as well as elsewhere – without being subjected to hateful abuse.

beef festival India- Feminists

Over 2000 people attended the festival. Photo courtesy : Dalit Camera Hyderabad

Related reading – Beef Eating: Strangulating History

A cowed-Down Nation

 

13 comments

  1. Zamir says:

    What so ever the goons have written or said about Dr. Meena, shows the desperation of those goons, who want to gage all the voices of dissent. They have forgotten and don’t have guts to reason out, to rationalize or discuss any concern, if they have.
    The indecencies of these goons and gundas can’t remain unnoticed. The selection of words and phrases which have been used against Dr. Meena are not only objectionable, rather worrisome. The law and order agencies should take note of it and must take immediate action. And civil society must register their protest too.

  2. Pam says:

    I trust the NWMI will seek legal action against those who have publicly threatened violence.

  3. Nigel says:

    These men are not real men, but a bunch of cowards. A real man would never call a woman such name, these men are nothing but mama’s boy type who always depend on them. Its a shame and a tragic that we are considered as a backward nation in the 21st century by these people. These people are a replica of a terror group who terrorize the very foundation of democracy, democracy doesn’t make friends to fringe element groups. These men spoil the Republic of India with their backward thoughts and ideology.

  4. Shelly says:

    Right-wing violence is often targeted at women, particularly women who ‘step out of line’, the ‘line’ being drawn centuries ago by some ancient obscurantist that they revere. These people use modern technology to communicate but their thinking is still stuck in the stone age. The threat of rape, too, is typical of this despicable breed of men.
    And at the centre of it all is merely people eating beef–something that I and millions of others do regularly! If it was not so tragic, it would be laughable.

  5. mohammad imran says:

    There are laws against use of threat. Those laws can be applied in India by filing FIRs against all those who have defamed, degraded, insulted and threatened Meena Knadasamy. NWMI should do that instead of sending out just a press release.

    • Pam says:

      I agree absolutely. Such dreadful threats must be countered by legal action by groups like the NWMI, women’s rights NGOs etc.

  6. Ammu Abraham says:

    Threatening people with gangrape and other atrocities should be a criminal offence. But it is not just Meena’s freedom of expression that has been violated, it is also her freedom to eat what she wants to. That so many of us have that freedom violated in most states of India shows the extent to which the Constitutional right to equality can be violated with impunity in this country. When we let such violations go unchallenged, all our democratic space is diminished and we accept a wounded and maimed democracy.

  7. Shrinivas says:

    Im a vegetarian, but then I just happen to mind my own business. If someone has a different opinion about something, its their very right to do so.
    BTW.. did you check that Siddharth Shankar’s Twitter Status:
    hes quoted the most important line from the Bhagavad Gita claiming that he’s the one sent to vanquish evil.
    It’s because of weirdos like these that we are still this backward country with stone age mentalities

  8. R Akhileshwari says:

    Apart from creating and perpetuating myths of their own superiority and the Dalits’ inferiority, the Brahmins and their cohorts of the so-called upper castes, used food, especially beef, as a weapon of oppression. The very food that the Dalits ate was characterized as ‘dirty’ and hence, those who consumed it too were ‘dirty’ and hence, untouchable. A greater outrage cannot be found in the annals of any suppressed people in any part of the world.

  9. JGN says:

    Any one can issue any threat from the annonimity of internet. Why take such threats so seriously?

    Btw was the threat against her eating beef or against her article in The Outlook? The tone of her article in The Outlook was also not so good.

    • Pam says:

      Well, if you anyone disagreed with her article, they could have commented on it in a letter to the editor (the print equivalent of what we are doing here), or even written a counterpoint in an article of their own.

      The objection here is not to disagreement but to disagreement expressed as threats to rape, injure, kill etc. Here. specifically the threat of rape.

  10. Murthy says:

    “Cow was neither sacred nor unconsumable by Brahmans according to D.N.Jha who has studied Rigveda in detail. This vedic scripture – written roughly between 1100 and 1700 BC – has frequent references to the cooking of ox meat for every day consumption and offering to gods. Jha’s The myth of the holy cow, offers detailed evidence that ox, bull and cow were both killed in public sacrifices and domestically slaughtered to be consumed in every-day life.

    Later, Buddhism and Jainism became critical of ritual and public sacrifices of animals and introduced ahimsa (non-violence). ”

    This article is interesting and of course points out facts clearly

    If he says that “Later, Buddhism and Jainism became critical of ritual and public sacrifices of animals and introduced ahimsa (non-violence)” , then in my humble opinion, we also know according to history that these two religions mostly spread in the lower communities or (dalit) as he refers to, then how come upper caste is still not eating cow ? (as per his Rig Veda comment) ?

    If someone wants to eat cow, why should they do a “festival” for that ? They can as well cook and eat it ? Are they trying to provoke people who mention that eating a cow is sin ? Why did they not do a “pork” + “beef” eating festival in charminar area of hyderabad ? I guess it would have been well received by the orthodox muslims who are staying there?
    Why should suddenly cow eating become an important chapter & this is what this crappy idiot wants to write about ?

  11. Ravindran says:

    we are always condemned to past;when we do not know the history.food habit of Aryans with animal sacrifice and soma drink can’t be our selective amnesia.
    unfortunately they decide what i have to eat. foolhardy; unscrupulous;we see things as we are; ill educated ( Do not confuse with qualification)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: