#ChandigarhStalking trends on Twitter; outrage, victim-shaming continue
Several users tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handles and sought response.punjab Updated: Aug 08, 2017 14:53 IST
“It is an attempt to intimidate me. I don’t feel the need to need to justify. They are using my personal pictures from Facebook images making ridiculous accusations. Anyone who can look at the pictures can understand what the truth is,” said Varnika Kundu to mediapersons on Monday, commenting on what appears to be a slander campaign against the stalking victim.
The incident of midnight stalking of the IAS officer’s daughter by the Haryana BJP chief’s son continued to capture the attention of netizens, with #ChandigarhStalking as the top trend on Twitter in India almost throughout Monday. From top politicians to social commentators and activists, to the general public, thousands of people continually talked about it on the social networking website.
Facebook, too, was flooded with posts, including several that sought to discredit the complainant by using fake images and conjecture.
Twitter handles of BJP spokesperson Shaina NC and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Patel were among many who circulated an old photograph of the woman with the narrative that the victim is with the accused Vikas Barala in the said picture. Prashant Patel tweeted, “So called victim daughter of IAS from Chandigarh with Vikas Barala. This story is as true as like Jasleen Kaur of Delhi & of Rohtak Sisters.” Many others picked up that image and made it viral on social media, reported the fact-checking website AltNews. However, the website said the woman told them it was not Vikas in the picture.
She had told HT on Sunday: “I have been told by friends that people are trying to say things about me; make it out like I am wrong. For instance, if you put up a picture of me with a guy online, is it suddenly going to make it okay for these guys to try and kidnap me?”
Also, it was on Twitter that maverick BJP MP Subramanian Swamy announced his decision to file a public interest litigation in the matter, leading to a number if tweets about possible difference of opinion within the BJP over the issue.
Actor-activist Gul Panag, who belongs to Chandigarh, shared news reports about the victim’s interviews.BJP-leaning Ashoke Pandit tweeted: “Disappearing of #CCTV footage of #ChandigarhStalking proves the crime committed by the #BJP leader’s son & the system protecting him.”
Several users tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handles and sought response. A popular sarcastic comment doing the rounds was a play on the word ‘vikas’, Hindi for ‘progress’, which also happens to be the first name of the BJP leader’s son, Vikas Barala. “You were searching for ‘vikas’, and Vikas was busy trying to kidnap a girl in Chandigarh,” it read.
Among politicians, Delhi chief minister and AAP head Arvidn Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi (translated): “Varnika’s stalkers should get strict punishment, no matter how influential they may be! Else, people will lose faith in the system.”