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YouTuber held in TN over abusive content

Chennai: The cyber crime wing of Chennai police on Friday arrested popular Youtuber and gamer M Madan Kumar (29) for allegedly live streaming PUBG, a game banned in India, with offensive and abusive commentary towards women
By Divya Chandrababu
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 12:43 AM IST

Chennai: The cyber crime wing of Chennai police on Friday arrested popular Youtuber and gamer M Madan Kumar (29) for allegedly live streaming PUBG, a game banned in India, with offensive and abusive commentary towards women.

Kumar, who was absconding ever since he was summoned for an enquiry, was arrested from Dharmapuri district, police said.

His wife Krithika (26), who ran the YouTube channels with him, was arrested on June 16 from Salem district and brought to Chennai. Her mobile phone, laptop and desktop were seized for further probe in the case, police said.

The couple’s house in the city was also searched, they added.

The arrests were made based on a complaint by a Chennai resident PK Abhishek Ravi that sought action against Kumr and a ban on the channels for obscene portrayal of women and creating perversion among minors.“We received more than 100 complaints and are continuing to receive several complaints from across Tamil Nadu,” said an investigating officer in the case.

The couple, both graduates in Electronics and Communications, were booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, 2000.

While hearing the accused’s anticipatory bail plea on Thursday, justice M Dhandapani of Madras high court had expressed shock after hearing the recorded conversations between Madan and his subscribers, some of whom are believed to be minors. The judge then asked the petitioner’s counsel to take note of the language in the conversations before appearing for another hearing on Friday.

The plea, however, turned infructuous as Madan was arrested on Friday.

The accused has more than 777,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel named ‘Madan’ which is described as ‘strategies, tips and tricks for PUBG mobile - Take your game to next level… subscribe for daily live videos.”

Besides this, the accused runs several other channels on the streaming platform such as ‘Toxic Madan 18+’ which has 105,000 subscribers.

“They earned several lakhs in a month through their subscriptions and views and lived lavishly. They owned luxury cars,” the officer quoted above said.

Experts say some of the charges may not withstand legal scrutiny.

Advocate Gayatri Khandhadai, who works in areas of internet policy and feminism, believes the gaming community across the world is sexist and needs change.

“In India, perhaps this issue of women being abused in the multi-player gaming community is becoming public now. In the videos I watched today, the accused is seen abusing other women players, he is using sexualised abuses when he’s speaking to other male gamers and adopts a demeaning and dismissive tone towards women. These comments do amount to abuse and intimidation under current law,” she said.

“However, I am conflicted over other content like when he shares his sexual encounters with other players while he is gaming. It could be argued that this is his sexual expression. In my opinion, it is lascivious content as per law. Given the amount of followers he has (on YouTube), it is evident that this is a social problem which needs to be addressed from the front. Since these are private spaces, there is really no way to monitor and moderate this content effectively because that would essentially mean loss of privacy,” she added.

City police commissioner Shankar Jiwal said the Centre has introduced relevant rules to deal with such cases in the online gaming world.

“There are separate rules for OTT and social media. They’re (Centre) coming up with three levels of mechanisms to complain, monitor and supervise. And we have powers to take criminal action,” he said.

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