“I’m Concerned for My Life”: Ravish Kumar Pens Open Letter to Modi
Ravish Kumar writes open letter to Narendra Modi after being abused by people the PM follows on Twitter.
It is possible that these people might be taking advantage of your faith and using such language. Since you are the Prime Minister, it is your duty to look into the matter. I understand your busy schedule, but your team can make sure that you don’t follow such people on Twitter.
These are the words of Ravish Kumar. In the wake of incessant threats and abuse from a particular WhatsApp group, the senior journalist on 27 September penned an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take stock of the situation.
He wrote the letter after AltNews, an organisation that busts fake news, traced that members of the WhatsApp group were followed by Modi on Twitter.
The letter, which was first posted on his blog ‘Naisadak’, talks about the journalist’s concern over trolling and abuse on social media, and questions the Prime Minister on why he follows people who issue such threats. Kumar said he will continue to “question” regardless.
‘Is My Life in Danger?’
Kumar is no stranger to online trolling and abuse. He has been subjected to many such instances earlier. In December 2016, the journalist’s Twitter account was hacked by ‘The Legion’ group, following which he issued a strong statement demanding action.
However, the slander refused to die down on the particular WhatsApp group, and the journalist decided that he would not settle for anything less than an investigation into the matter.
Who Threatened Ravish?
On 22 September, Kumar took to Facebook and posted how he was being repeatedly added to the same WhatsApp group ‘Om Dharm Rakshati Rakshat’, despite exiting it many times. According to the journalist, the members of the group took turns to threaten him.
When he asked them to stop with the abuses, one of the members of the group said he was “sad that Kumar was still alive.”
Based on Kumar’s post, AltNews.in launched an investigation to trace who the members of this group were.
Upon tracing one of the numbers, AltNews confirmed the number belonged to Niraj D of Ananjey Export. A Twitter search further confirmed that he was followed by the Prime Minister himself.
Another member on the WhtasApp group, Akash Soni, was also traced to be close to senior BJP leaders like Nirmala Sitharaman and Manoj Tiwari.
According to AltNews, Soni has also shared private numbers of other popular journalists like Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, and Abhisar Sharma publicly on his Facebook timeline.
Nikhil Dadhich, who whipped up a storm for ‘celebrating’ the murder of Gauri Lankesh on Twitter, is also a part of the group. Following Lankesh’s death, the Prime Minister faced heavy criticism for following Dadhich. And Modi still continues to follow him.
Many other members of the group were named RSS-1 and RSS-2.
'Will Not Stop Questioning'
Kumar stated that such trolls cannot stop him from his brand of journalism, and cannot stop him from questioning the government either. While he acknowledged that he has the choice of returning to his hometown Motihari, he said he would not do so.
By continuing to question, he said, he adopted Mahatma Gandhi’s saying: “Stand in front with moral force, no matter how big the power is.”
Kumar also made an appeal to Modi to ask these people he follows if there is a threat to his life.
While Kumar added that Modi might be following such people due to “special” qualifications, he wrote that he “sincerely hoped” that those qualities do not include bullying or abuse.
(Read full letter here.)
(Witn inputs from AltNews, Wire.in)
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