Bengaluru-based social media influencer Hitesha Chandranee, who made news over the widely reported Zomato controversy, released a statement on Thursday, 18 March, detailing the mass threats, harassment, and abuse she has been subjected to.
She has called for a neutral probe to bring out the truth and said she is worried about her safety.
The News Minute on Wednesday had reported that Hitesha had left Bengaluru for now after her address was leaked. In her long statement posted on her Instagram, Hitesha said she has been hounded on social media, across platforms and even attacked by statements by “celebrities.”
Many people have supported Kamaraj, the delivery executive, after he recounted his version first to TNM. He alleged that it was Hitesha who attacked him and her nose was injured by her own ring. Though the police are yet to conclude their investigation, the issue has polarised people.
She added, “I have received many calls from various people using repulsive and threatening words against me. They have threatened my life and have even threatened to harm my family. I am being assaulted online in all platforms, be it email, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram in addition to regular calls and messages (sic).”
As reported by TNM, Bengaluru police have registered two FIRs in connection with the altercation, which broke out on 9 March. While Hitesha has alleged that she was assaulted by Kamaraj Kandaswamy, the food delivery worker, the latter has alleged assault by the former.
From the time the incident occurred and while undergoing trauma on what has happened to me as what happens to many girls and women who live alone in this city, I have been hounded on social media by tweets, posts and statements by "celebrities" because of which I have decided to make this statement.
Since the incident occurred, I have been harassed, abused and my life has been threatened. I have kept my silence as anything I say gets twisted. I do not have any PR agency to support or back me. I have had to take medical treatment for my nose which was fractured due to the incident.
Online narratives say that I asked for free food, but it was Zomato which had an offer that they would not charge me, if the food was delivered late. People unconnected with the incident have been commenting without knowing the ramifications their words might cause. The posts made by certain celebrities which accuse me of being responsible for the incident have hurt me immensely as these are the people I look up to. The comments of such people have an impact.
There have been many attempts made through social media to pressurise me to withdraw the complaint. I am a law abiding citizen of India who firmly believes in the judiciary. I have been cooperating with the police and have not left Bengaluru as spread by various quarters. Bengaluru is home for me.
I just wanted to share the incident but instead, my words have been further twisted. I live by myself in Bengaluru and the past few days have been very difficult for me and I am worried about my safety. A neutral probe by the investigative agencies will bring out the truth and I look forward to it.
I would not risk my life, reputation, respect and peace of mind by orchestrating anything as attributed to me. I appeal to all netizens not to express any opinion till the trial is completed by the appropriate legal forum.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)