A war of words broke out between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh and National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam after the journalist-turned-politician was summoned to appear before the commission on Friday, Sept. 9. Ashutosh has been called in connection with his blog on the sex scandal involving his former party colleague Sandeep Kumar.
The Sandeep Kumar episode began when early last week a CD reached a TV channel, which then proceeded to show it to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal. In less than an hour, Kejriwal sacked Kumar — then a minister — from the Delhi Cabinet because the CD purportedly showed him in a compromising position with a woman.
The woman believed to be in the CD came forward on Saturday and said that Kumar had raped her by giving a sedative laced soft drink. Kumar surrendered before Delhi Police the same day, and was formally arrested. His secretary was detained on Monday on suspicion of circulating the CD.
The spat between Ashutosh and Kumaramangalam started on Monday when the former reportedly received the summon to appear before the NCW. He had written an opinion piece in the blog section of a news channel's website, titled "The Sex Was Consensual, Private Act. Why AAP Punished Its Man."
"Lalitha Kumar Manglam Is member of BJP national executive/was national secretary of BJP. If I get notice from NCW, I will react. [sic]," Ashutosh reacted on Twitter.
He went on to add: "I hope Lalitha Kumarmangalam, member of BJP Nat Ex/chairman NCW is summoning every writer who wrote about consensual sex. NO pick and choose. [sic]" He also said on Twitter that he hoped TV channels were running his reactions along with the story.
Kumaramangalam also reacted to the tweets saying: "He is such a senior journalist, and does not know I was spokesperson three years before joining the NCW? Since joining the NCW, I am no more a member of the BJP National Executive as well. BJP mein ek vyakti ek pad ka siddhant lagoo hai [The BJP follows a one-person-one-position rule]."
Following her reaction, Ashutosh chose to cite a Wikipedia entry on Kumaramangalam, which still showed her as a member of the BJP National Executive.
It may be noted that Wikipedia can be edited by any person, and there is no guarantee of the authenticity of the information carried on it. One example was just after the end of the 2014 general election. Before the start of the counting of votes, someone had changed the entry on the "Prime Ministers of India" page of Wikipedia. It reflected that Narendra Modi had been elected to power.
In fact, Wikipedia has been plagued by this problem — people uploading false content on it — to such an extent that it has banned some people from accessing its pages. The most notable of these are Scientologists. Many users with IP addresses of known Scientologists have been banned from editing the Wikipedia page on "Scientology" after they were found to be constantly removing negative references to Scientology and Scientologists.