Ever since the story of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal made headlines, the country has been gripped with her resilient fight for justice. In fact, enraged Indians have taken to Twitter and Facebook to show support for the officer who dared to take a stand against the sand mafia.
Durga, a young IAS officer with a passion to save the environment , launched a massive drive against the illegal sand mining business within her jurisdiction.
Following this, she was suspended for allegedly demolishing an illegal mosque.
When the incident came to light, it whipped up a major storm in UP's power centres. Controversial statements were made and retracted; reports were submitted and rejected and the whole issue was warped into a ball of complicated politics.
Where UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party kept pressing for stronger punishment for Nagpal, other politicos stood in support of the IAS officer.
And, in the midst of the political tongue-bashing, the media started sniffing for signs of foul-play.
Their job was made easy by one Narendra Singh Bhati, a senior SP leader who bragged about getting Durga "suspended within 41 minutes". His speech, in a rally in UP's Gautam Budh Nagar district, went viral for all the wrong reasons.
And, like most netas who make controversial statements, he later blamed the media for taking his words out of context.
That however was not the end of the story.
Durga's case made it to the court after a plea was filed against her suspension in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court. The court however dismissed the plea saying it was "a matter between the master and the servant".
The court did, however, pull up the centre and state governments over the illegal sand mining issue.
Durga too met with UP's chief secretary claiming her innocence.
In the midst of all these developments social media had taken a clear stand: solidarity with an honest woman victimised by politics and organised crime.
Communities and pages supporting Durga were started on Facebook and #Durga became a twitter trend.
People were seen expressing a myriad of emotions towards injustice and the helplessness of someone made powerless by criminal power.
Shakespeare said "What's in a name....." because he had not heard of #Durga Shakti.— Khaman Dhokla (@khamandhokla) August 3, 2013
Muslim leaders in UP should put pressure seking justice for #Durga, given that the communal card was given as an excuse & expose the SP— Rohan Kanchan (@rohank13) August 3, 2013
The culprits don't get punished often was commonplace anyways.. now the diligents are being punished! #Durga— Abhijeet Srivastava (@abhijeet_2408) August 3, 2013
UP govt on backfoot, reaches out to #Durga - ought to happen when govt face is all down under mud.— Deepak Mohanty (@deepakkmohanty) August 3, 2013
it's not only the politicians who made #Durga shakti Nagpal suspend. our corrupt bureaucracy system is also responsible.— Devanshi verma (@Devanshiverma) August 3, 2013
Sometimes you can see the media put its collective might together to make something happen.Despite that, sometimes we fail.hopealive #Durga— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) August 2, 2013
The silence of top IAS officers (Chief Secy, Cab Secy) on #Durga Shakti Nagpal is deafening. Is the civil service just His Master's Voice?— Dhiraj Nayyar (@nayyardhiraj) August 1, 2013
Apparently Congress and SP are running their mining and grafting mafias in disguise of 'secularism'. #Durga— ???? ?????????? (@AmiSri) August 1, 2013
Not just words, but internet sensations like memes and cartoons were also made, criticising the government and its inaction towards issues that strike an emotional chord with the regular Indian.
Corruption, an issue that has invoked passionate responses from the common man before, came under the scanner again. Except only this time, corruption had a victim people identified with. Or rather, someone who people wanted to identify with.
All said and done, Durga's fight seems far from over. It's hard to muddle through seasoned politicians and powerful criminals no matter how much support one garners.
However, the response the issue has generated can definitely act as a strong support system for Nagpal.
Until a concrete step is taken, one can hope that in the run-up to the 2014 assembly elections, the government would do right by those who will remember these incidents when they stand in voting lines next year.