Trolls Attempt to Shame Chandigarh Victim With Old Photos
A day after a senior BJP politician’s son and his friend were arrested for ‘stalking’ Varnika Kundu in Chandigarh, BJP leaders and members of the accused’s family have resorted to victim shaming on social media.
While Ramveer Bhatti, vice president of the BJP in Haryana, blamed the young woman for “staying out so late in the night”, Shaina NC took to Twitter to attack Kundu, posting an old image of her and referring to her as “so called victim beti”.
The image has also been shared from several accounts, including Twitter and Facebook pages like the Illogical Indian.
Troll Brigade Picks on Old Photo
A supreme court lawyer, Prashant Patel, shared the picture (which has Varnika with two people) and claimed that one of the men in the image was Vikas Barala, the accused.
Patel and many other people tried to build a narrative that the victim knew the accused. However, none of the trolls could justify how knowing the victim makes stalking her legal.
Patel went on to say that the since the victim was talking on the phone while driving, as mentioned in her Facebook post, she should be fined Rs 1,000 and jailed.
Another Facebook user, Manav Hriday, shared Kundu’s photo and attacked the victim’s family by putting up the photo on their timeline.
In a reply to Manav, the victim’s sister and her mother clarified that the men in the photo were Varnika’s friends and the photo was an old one. But Manav didn’t budge.
Accused’s Family Steps in
Apart from sharing the same image, a member of the Barala family, Kuldeep Barala, shared an old photograph of Kundu with glasses of alcohol in the foreground.
The posts have now been deleted. Kuldeep, with the photos, tried to raise questions about her character, and claimed that the incident was being blown out of proportion by the opposition to malign the BJP leader’s image. The images seemed to be from Kundu’s Facebook profile.
In fact, Kuldeep Barala also slammed the police for speaking to the media about the incident and said this meant that the police are not willing to go back on its word of slapping serious charges on the goons.
Politicians Take the Victim Blaming Forward
One might remember the Bengaluru molestation incident, when many politicians came out and blamed the victims for being out late in the night. Following the same trend, Ramveer Bhatti, vice president of the BJP in Haryana , 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."
Shaina NC, a BJP spokesperson, shared the photo on Twitter and tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 8 other people. She has now deleted the tweet and claims that her account was hacked.
The accused, Vikas Barala, was arrested on 5 August, along with another person identified as Ashish. The duo were released in the evening, however, as the sections imposed against them were bailable.
Meanwhile, the police said that the CCTV footage connected to the case has gone missing from five places.
Violence against women is seldom reported in India either because they don’t want to get caught up in the hassle or do not believe the police can help. The Chandigarh stalking incident shows us one such reason why women don't report it.
The politicians and ordinary citizens resort to victim shaming, who are people go to for help?
(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)