The right-wing Twitter users appear to have scored a self-goal. When in a rare turn of events, a former Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) spokesperson Amrita Bhinder was harassed & abused by own flock. Allegedly because a section of Twitter users were not happy with her flagging the hate-speech of a self-styled religious leader Swami Saraswati who vowed to incite violence during slain Hindu Samaj Party Chief Kamlesh Tiwari's funeral.
From character assassination, abuse to wild allegations
Amrita Bhinder wrote, quoting a tweet by Twitter handle @GangsterBapu, which contained her personal information, including her phone number: "It's getting vile! I'm being targeted. And they're also spreading my personal details on WhatsApp to target me!" The tweet has since been deleted and the user appears to have deleted his handle.
In another tweet, right-wing supporter Ramesh Choutapelly accused her of being affiliated with the "Mafia" which is worth "1000s of crores". Choutapelly's tweet attributed to another tweet by right-wing parody account @RealHistoriPix who posted a letter by Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati addressed to Home Minister Amit Shah. The post suggested Bhinder is involved in "the nexus between UP Police & Jehadi Land Mafias."
Why was she abused on Twitter?
The alleged targeted attacks come weeks after Bhinder had flagged self-styled activist Swami Saraswati's video in which he sought to incite communal violence. This was soon after Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari was shot dead by assailants belonging to the minority community in October 2019.
In a two-minute video that went viral on social media, Swami Saraswati is seen standing beside Tiwari's mother in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, and making provocative statements calling for the mass killing of Muslims.
The Uttar Pradesh Police (UP Police) booked Saraswati and his followers under IPC section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).
Bhinder said that she simply found the video seeking violent hence tagged authorities. This, only so the authorities were aware as it was a sensitive time owing to the then anticipated Ayodhya verdict.
I thought of simply tagging the objectionable content that aimed to incite violence between two communities & could lead to severe consequences".
Avoid unnecessary statements on Ayodhya, maintain harmony: PM Modi had categorically told ministers as well.
The FIR against Saraswati led to widespread outrage against many including Bhinder by his supporters and right-wing users who claimed that she had "betrayed her party". Others, including an article published by a website, read, "Swami Saraswati was immediately arrested by the UP Police due to the action a nationalist Indian wanting to appear cool and liberal to her Lutyens friends."
There was support too
Bhinder, who has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, had several users extending their sympathies in response to her tweet. Sharing the link of the official cybercrime website, a Twitter user wrote, "Apart from the fact that nearly all bhakts are vile and abusive , I will request you to file complaint against such harassers."
However, others claimed that she "deserved it" for calling out people with right-leaning affiliations despite being associated with the BJP since it came to power in 2014.
Defending her stance on the issue, Bhinder responded to the tweets saying "At critical times where there's already a threat of communal disharmony, how is giving a hate speech helpful? Why am I to be blamed for marking a tweet to police?"
She said that the incident highlights how people are unwilling to come to a "middle-ground" where one can either only be "right-wing" or "leftist". "They use these ways of bullying people into obedience and to keep the party & people divided. People are getting targeted for trying to get the communities together," said Bhinder.