Few days ago one of the Raiot collective members received some Whatsapp messages in Hindi. Since the receiver of this message could not read hindi, the thrust of the threat was not instantly delivered, so it turned into a bit of a failure. But then yesterday, it came to our attention that a few other people- journalists, activists, as well as students – received the same whatsapp-forwarded death-threat; each coming from different numbers originating from different states in the country.
The content in the message cites the murder of Gauri Lankesh and it denotes the reason she was murdered, stating that it was because she was an anti-national and anti-Hindu. The message concluded in a communal tone by saying that whoever writes against Modi, the BJP and RSS, “would be wiped out along with Muslims”.
In the wake of an emerging pattern, as people noticed the same message being forwarded to them, some reported to the press but to no avail. A few individuals have filed FIRs but the general reaction has been quite disheartening and it makes us think of the disturbing proposition/the normalising of the culture of threat. Have we been numbed to the extent that such elements, which pose a threat to free speech and dissent, can be swept under the rug so easily? Moreover, it is not a coincidence that figures who have been vocal in their nature to condemn the fascist patterns of the BJP-RSS nexus and their imposition of Hindutva, have been specifically targeted.
A Facebook profile, Un-Fair Web, was the one of the first community profiles that shared commentary as well as the screenshots of the WhatsApp picture-message received by different people, and it emerged as a platform for those who were initially seeking to take joint action. However, a few hours later it was suspended by Facebook after it was reported en masse in a short amount of time.
As Raiot has also been increasingly on the receiving end of threats by trolls and the like, we feel that such forces must be dealt with so democracy can be safeguarded, if that is what we claim this country to be. We urge people who have gotten the same message to come forward so a collective action can be taken.