Despite the overwhelming amount of criticism that the BJP has received for trying to run a smear campaign on Varnika Kundu, they are still at it.
On August 5, Varnika Kundu, the daughter of IAS officer, was stalked through the streets of Chandigarh by Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana BJP president, and his friend Ashish Kumar. The two men followed her in a car, and tried to force her to open the door of her car. She called the police as she was being chased by the two men, and they were arrested on charges of drunk driving and stalking. Kundu then took to Facebook to share her ordeal.
Friends and family of Barala have already tried their hand at defaming Kundu. Some alleged she drinks. BJP’s state vice-president Ramveer Bhatti took over the mantle of the "victim-shaming uncle" as he told CNN-News18, "The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night. Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves."
Of course, all of it received near-universal criticism (but not from anyone in the BJP). In fact, even the photo’s contents were debunked by media watchdog website Alt-News. That did not, however, discourage the BJP and its cadre from continuing with their ill-conceived smear campaign.
Shaina Nana Chudasama, the treasurer, BJP Maharashtra and a national spokesperson for the party tweeted an unrelated photo of Kundu, tried to pass it off as a photo of her with the accused and compared her to women who have falsely accused men of rape.
Later, when she was criticised for not only being factually incorrect, but also for being a cog in both India’s patriarchal ecosystem and a state machinery aimed at harassing anyone who tries to criticise the party, Chudasama deleted the tweet and gave the world the most unoriginal excuse: "account was allegedly hacked". After all, expecting the BJP or its cadres to apologise for something dishonest is a fool's hope.
Just gt access back to my account; some mischievous folks had hacked the account.Please ignore any activity on my account of past few hours— ShainaNC (@ShainaNC) August 7, 2017
Of course, no one seemed to buy her story.
Must be the same guy who hacked @Delhi_Airport recently. Cyber cell should deactivate these accounts until the malicious offender is found.— Suvojit (@suvojitc) August 7, 2017
Please post a screenshot of the email sent by Twitter after you recovered your supposedly hacked account. https://t.co/2t0iRmrb34— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) August 7, 2017
If you just got back access to your account, how did the mischievous tweet get deleted more than half an hour ago? https://t.co/2t0iRmrb34— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) August 7, 2017
Minutes after being outed for her victim shaming tweet, BJP Nat Spokesperson miraculously gets back control of her 'hacked' account! https://t.co/PcOi1s3EZ0— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) August 7, 2017
It was either Arvind Kejriwal or OfficeOfRG. Name and shame the mischievous folks, Shaina. We are with you. https://t.co/kJnTEbOe6n— Anamika (@NameFieldmt) August 7, 2017
Believe mine can be hacked too. Dar lagta hai. Ma'm, can you please help with the procedure of recovery you did. thanks in advance. https://t.co/cgHZuGcXax— SM Hoax Slayer (@SMHoaxSlayer) August 7, 2017
Dog ate homework https://t.co/uvEY0or77s— righd do pablisity (@CworeRedux) August 7, 2017
Men's rights activists everywhere love to harp on a few false rape cases that have taken place and love to equate it to all allegations of rape, sexual harassment and any kind of gendered crime. The BJP too seems to be going in that direction.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures from 2011-2015, there has been a spike in number of rape cases registered. Against 24,206 cases of rape registered against women in 2011, the number went up to 36,735 in 2014 and 34,651 in 2015. Cases of kidnapping and abduction of women have also correspondingly gone up, from 35,565 in 2011 to 59,277 in 2015. In 2015, 6,266 cases of stalking (under Section 354D of the IPC) were reported across the country.
More importantly, gendered violence in India is often left unreported by the victims because they either don’t want to get caught up in red tape or do not believe the police can help. More than half the crimes in Mumbai and New Delhi go unreported, and the police in those cities refuse to register most complaints of sexual harassment, according to the human rights non-profit Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
But let us keep equating every case to the "Rohtak sisters" or Jasleen Kaur. Just to save a party member's son, the BJP is going well out of its way to defame a woman who refused to stay silent about sexual harassment. So much for "Beti Bachao", eh?