An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Police arrest Twitter Users for harassment of a Singer in Chennai

Singer Chinmayi Sripada

This is an interesting case from India where the harassment on Social Media by some people culminated in their arrest on complaint from the victim.  So, moral of the story is that you better be careful while passing vulgar and bad remarks about people.

Surely this will come as a dampener for those who engage on Social Media, because this interpretation of vulgar expression vs freedom of expression can depend on different people and also context.

…Chennai City Police arrested an associate professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and have detained another person, working in the Tirupur Collectorate, for harassing singer Chinmayi Sripada on Twitter.

Police are looking for three more persons.

On October 18, Chinamayi lodged a complaint stating that a few individuals were tweeting about her and her mother and making “casteist” and “vulgar” remarks. The comments were posted by twitter handles @rajanleaks, @Senthilchn, @Asharavkay, @losongelesram, @vivajilal and @thyirvadai. “The problem started two years ago after they included me on a hash-tag on a fishermen’s issue and wanted me to support the cause. I did not entertain the request as there were vulgar comments about many top leaders,” Chinmayi told The Hindu on Monday.

After this, they started threatening her, she said. “They even passed vulgar comments on my mother. Most of my tweets were misquoted to give a feeling that I am against Tamil, Tamil Tweeters and bloggers and also against Sri Lankan Tamils. Some even started tagging me on Facebook,” she said, adding: “Finally, I decided to seek police help.”

The case against Chinmayi’s harassers was filed under section 66-A of the Information Technology Act and Section 4 of Prevention of Women Harassment Act by the Cyber Crime Cell of Chennai City Police.

On social media, there will always be open discussion, where some will use it and others will misuse it.  But that doesn’t mean that one goes around arresting folks for using unparliamentary language.  This can be used by the unscrupulous in various ways to get their critics down.  Specially the Indian political class.

So, personally, although my sympathies are with Chinamayi, but I don’t support arrest in real life of people who used language which wasn’t good.  She also has the freedom to write whatever she wants and fight with them intellectually.

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