Media spotlight and fame can have serious side-effects. This is what Hasiba B Amin, the youth face of Congress's ad campaign 'Kattar Sooch Nahi, Yuva Josh', is realising now that a full-fledged smear campaign has been unleashed against her on the social media.
At first, this young NSUI's Goa president took the barbs sportingly but soon these were replaced with serious charges, including allegations about her involvement in a Rs 300 crore scam and a jail term, forcing her to react strongly.
"The allegations are baseless and are of personal nature. I am disgusted with the campaign and the people behind it. How can they stoop so low? It's alright if they don't agree with my ideology, but this is not acceptable," she told this reporter.
Talking about her quick journey to fame, and now the slander campaign to defame her, Amin says she was quite happy when learnt that she would be part of the party's campaign and appear in TV spots with Rahul Gandhi and other leaders.
"I felt very happy. And I'm very grateful to my party leaders who which acknowledged the hardwork of members like me by making us part of the national campaign," she says.
But once the ads started appearing on TV, many spoofs and jokes lampooning her started doing rounds on the internet.
"I don't mind people spoofing me or making fun of me in the ad, that's part of life. In fact, I retweeted many jokes, which I myself found funny, including a few with hashtags such as 'YoHasinaSoDumb'. I'm even ready to have an ideological debate. But this particular one is absolutely disgusting," she says, referring to the charges that she was involved in a scam and had served a jail term. One post shows her standing with Shashi Tharoor and accuses her of being part of a PWD scam.
When family and friends brought her attention to this particularly slanderous post, she initially ignored it, thinking it was best to "not give any attention to people who were so cheap and could stoop so low".
But after it started getting shared across websites, and her own family thought it was not acceptable, she finally reacted and tweeted last Thursday, for the first time, "Disgusted with the campaign against me. Not a bit of it is true. Think of the girls in ur family before u falsely spoil the image of a girl!"
Disgusted with the campaign against me. Not a bit of it is true. Think of the girls in ur family before u falsely spoil the image of a girl!— Hasiba B. Amin (@HasibaAmin) January 30, 2014
That one tweet has turned the tables. And supports from all sectors have started pouring in for her. She says, "Even when I hadn't reacted, party members and senior leaders as well as friends were asking me, how do you want us to react? But I had asked them to just ignore it. Now that I have broken my silence, senior leaders from my party and other parties are also extending support. Many have sent me messages saying I shouldn't get affected by such thing sand that they are with me. I have never had any police complaints or FIRs filed against me, forget about going to jail. And I met Mr Tharoor, when he had come to Goa at a medical event, with other party volunteers who wanted to discuss some student-related issues and policies."
In fact, many AAP leaders have also apologised to her after it was reported that AAP Ludhiana's official handle tweeted that post. Reads one such tweet, bytsrao "@tallurisrao "@bharat_builder: As an AAP member, I apologise to @HasibaAmin, for act by few AAP members. @shabanais A good gesture,worthy of emulation".
Hasiba is happy to have received the support. "I'm told they have suspended the account for now and have even taken the administrator to task. And several AAP members have apologised on that person's behalf," she says.
Some Tweets that attacked Amin:
Dear @HasibaAmin , if the yuva soch you are talking abt is of Rahul Gandhi, I am Better off with kattar soch. Koi rocket science nahi hai.— Trolleshwar (@VedVachan) February 1, 2014
And the Twitterati bat for the young Congress activist:
@HasibaAmin I'm AAP supporter but still these attacks on you cant be justified.You have all rights to express your views & likes.Best Wishes— Pankaj Kathayat (@pkathayat07) February 1, 2014