Dalit Girl 'Raped & Killed' But Leaders Only Want to Talk Rahul Gandhi's Twitter
Amid the political mano-a-mano, the story of a Dalit child whose life was cut brutally short has been lost forever.
“A company is making its business to define our politics,” said Rahul Gandhi in a YouTube video on Friday, 13 August, criticising Twitter for locking his account. In the video titled 'Twitter’s dangerous game', he dubbed the same “an attack on the democratic structure of the country”.
The microblogging site, on its part, maintained that its rules are "enforced judiciously and impartially for everyone”.
Meanwhile, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party continued its ceaseless tirade against the Congress leader and his party for tweeting photographs of a grief-stricken couple.
For context, you might have to wade through dense, political garble that renders all else unintelligible. If you somehow manage to do so, you will find that the duo in the photographs were the parents of a nine-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped, murdered and forcibly cremated in the national capital.
Shortly after Gandhi tweeted visuals of his meeting with the parents, the National Commission for Protection of Children's Rights (NCPCR) shot a notice to Twitter seeking immediate removal of the same, and a few days later Twitter, citing a violation of its own rules, unleashed a rampage with a slew of Congress leaders being “locked” out.
While BJP leaders hailed Twitter’s decision as having shown Gandhi “the door”, the latter said that “as a politician,” he doesn’t like it. It was only days after, on 14 August, that Twitter restored Rahul Gandhi's account and those of Congress leaders.
Wading Through the Political Garble
In any case, amid the political mano-a-mano: accusations, indignation, performative morality et al, the story of a Dalit child whose life was cut brutally short has perhaps been lost forever.
What also seem to have been lost are important discussions on gender justice and women's safety, a consideration for change in governance and policy, an afterthought – because rarely does it get much else – to caste-based violence and upper-caste impunity that still plagues this country.
While the girl's parents combat the suffocation of their loss, with politicians (from all walks and parties) pressing their long noses against the brittle glass of their lives, the narrative has shifted. It is no longer about their loss or their quest for justice – which will, in all likelihood, be long and arduous. It is not even, anymore, about the little girl and the purported perpetrators of the crime.
The narrative has now become about Rahul Gandhi. About whether he is a criminal for having shared those photos of the deceased girl’s parents – posts which Tejasvi Surya described as "indecent, illegal and inhuman" – or about whether he is a victim because poor Mr Gandhi’s voice was stifled on one microblogging site.
While Rahul Gandhi maintains that his posts came from a place of “compassion and empathy”, and it is an irrefutable fact that there were others too who had shared photos of the victim’s kin and their accounts remain intact; it is also vital to remember that a debate on a privileged, upper-caste male politician’s Twitter-freedom can wait another day.
Likewise, it is imperative to remind the leaders of the ruling party – and the NCPCR and Twitter, by extension – that the real crime here is far graver, far more monstrous, and warrants attention with much more urgency than Rahul Gandhi’s tweets.
What it Shows...
It is disheartening that Gandhi and his ilk in the Congress party can’t get over their Twitter woes and help draw the attention back, singularly to the plight of the grieving couple who had, just the other day, clung to him for dear life.
It is appalling that even though a Dalit girl is believed to have been raped and killed by a priest among other accused, her body charred unrecognisable in a forcible cremation – all our elected leaders can outrage over is a tweet or two.
While the BJP’s famous Sambit Patra indulges in classic whataboutery to attack Rahul Gandhi, instead of taking a sombre moment to simply grieve the loss of the child or share how the Union government hopes to make the country safer for women, children, and people from all communities and caste-groups, he betrays insensitivity. The BJP leaders' choice to focus more on the Congress party than on the actual alleged rape and murder, also reeks of deflection tactics.
This is perhaps because an increased publicity of the crime may prove to be detrimental for the prime minister and his government. The fact that such a heinous crime took place in the national capital, also may not be a good look for the Union Home Ministry, under which comes the Delhi police.
On the other hand, when Rahul Gandhi talks about how Twitter is thwarting a “political process”, he only makes the BJP’s case of political opportunism against him stronger.
Meanwhile, a heartbroken mother weeps for her dead child, and this is all she has to say: "I just want my daughter back. I will do anything to have my daughter back...Someone help me..."
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