BJP member shames victim on Twitter and follows it with a lame ‘hacked account’ excuse

How convenient for BJP, eh?

 |  4-minute read |   07-08-2017
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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.

shaina_080717081400.jpgPhoto: Screengrab

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. 

Of course, no one seemed to buy her story. 

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?

Also read - Rakhi: The brotherly embrace of oppression

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Pathikrit Sanyal Pathikrit Sanyal @bucketheadcase

The author is a culture writer who likes talking about the internet, memes, privacy and all things pop culture.

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