The cold-blooded murder of outspoken, anti-establishment journalist Gauri Lankesh on Tuesday, 5 September, expectedly resulted in trolls crawling out of the woodwork and spouting the most despicable comments on social media platforms.
According to a report in The News Minute, on Wednesday, Bengaluru's Cyber Crime Police arrested a Malli Arjun, an unemployed 22-year-old man who came to the city two months ago in search of a job, for putting up several defamatory Facebook posts, and one that roughly translated to, "One person with leftist ideology is dead, other such people will also meet the same fate."
On being arrested, Arjun reportedly confessed to posting the hate messages. He also admitted that he possessed several email ids and Facebook profiles, and had used fake documents to obtain SIM cards. He has been remanded to police custody for seven days, reported the Deccan Chronicle.
In another incident, yesterday, the Delhi Police's cyber cell registered an FIR against a Vikram Aditya Rana after receiving a complaint from journalist Sagarika Ghose for threatening violence against her and several others, including Arundhati Roy, Shobhaa De, Kavita Krishnan and Shehla Rashid through Facebook posts.
The language of his posts, dated 5 September, is despicable. In one, referring to Lankesh's death, he says, "Not an iota of sympathy for d b**** . They should have shredded her body with bullets & even blasted apart her apartment ..."
In another, he writes, "Let the shooting of #GauriLankesh serve as an example to those anti-nationals who masquerade as journalists & activists. I hope this is not d last in a should be an episode of serial assassinations of all anti nationals. Shobha De; Arundhati Roy; Sagarika Ghose; Kavitha Krishnan; Shiela Rashid etc at d end of a list that should start with anti-national & treacherous politicians. A hit list is prepared to eliminate all those on the list. At last a ray of hope."
Rana's commitment to hate speech is such that he posts from two accounts, switching between them when either gets suspended. In addition to the Lankesh posts, in the past, his account has been suspended by Facebook due to offensive comments about Rohingya Muslims.
Even as Delhi Police tries to trace his IP address, Rana, a native of Shillong, is cheered on by his little coterie of haters. In several posts where Rana complains about getting blocked, his 'friends' on Facebook egg him to create new accounts. They also gang up to say despicable things to people who dare to protest his bigotry in these pages. Rana also proudly claims that the more Facebook blocks him and people report him, the more he will spew venom.
HuffPost India's data and innovation editor, Rukmini S, found when she created a Twitter account that would mirror PM Modi's by following only those handles that he did, his timeline is cluttered with thousands of tweets filled with invective, abuses and threats. Till now Modi hasn't commented on Lankesh's death.
The #BlockNarendraModi fervour has gripped Twitter, as an outlet for people angered by Modi's continued indirect ratification of abusive trolls. BJP's head of information and technology, Amit Malviya, tried to justify Modi's continued engagement with people who are openly slandering Lankesh even after her death, by saying that Modi's following anyone on Twitter is not a character certificate.
BJP's own Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union minister for information technology, and minister for law and justice has faced troll outrage. On Wednesday 6 September, he tweeted his condemnation for the vulgar celebration of Lankesh's death on social media.
Following which, he was trolled mercilessly by the very trolls his party silently supports.
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