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Dalit Lawyer, Devji Maheshwari Killed; Earlier, Journalist Prashant Kanojia under arrest over anti – Brahmin post

Expressing minority views on social media is becoming a thing of life and death

Expressing voices on social media has become a thing that can cost a life. The two recent cases of posting against caste divide, irrespective of the posts being objectionable or not, have had exceptionally adverse repercussions. Where a Dalit Lawyer, Devji Maheshwari had been murdered on Friday, Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist is still under arrest on sharing objectionable content which he had immediately deleted when realized of it being morphed.

Devji Maheshwari’s Murder

On Friday, Devji Maheshwari, a Dalit lawyer and activist in Gujarat’s Kutch district got murdered allegedly by a Brahmin citizen, Bharat Raval from Mumbai over a post criticising Brahminism. Devji was a senior member of All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation and Indian Legal Professionals Association. They accused, Rawal has had clashes with Devji on his views on Brahminism. On a Facebook post by Devji, critical of Brahminism, Raval disagreed and criticized Devji and warned him several times to refrain from writing such posts publically. The killing of the lawyer has led to tensions in the Rapar town of Kutch as the members of the Dalit community are demanding strict actions against the suspects. Maheshwari’s family had named around nine suspects and refused to accept the Devji’s body until they get arrested. (According to Indian Express)

Read more: How Language Matters while addressing the issues of gender-based violence?

Devji Maheshwari

Prashant Kanojia’s Arrest

Earlier, on 18th August 2020, Bahujan journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police. He is being held in custody over a tweet he had forwarded, with text saying – “It is Tiwari Ji’s direction that entry for SC/ST/OBC be banned in the Ram Mandir and everybody should raise their voice for this.” This post was coupled with the morphed photograph being circulated by an unknown person changing words along Sushil Tiwari’s photo to “‘Ram mandir mein Shudron, OBC, SC, ST ka pravesh nishedh rahega sabhi log ek saath avaaz uthayein”. (According to The Wire)

Although, it is known that he had immediately deleted upon learning that it contained fake news. Though Kanojia was in custody since then, now, the Allahabad Court has accepted the plea of UP Government demanding 4 weeks time to respond to bail plea meaning Prashant will have to spend one more month in custody. Last year too, Prashant was arrested by UP Police over a tweet and on that, Supreme court ordered his immediate release stating the protocol that is, “first, the case is being proved and the accuse is summoned, not arrested until they have been sentenced.”

Now, these are just two cases where writing on social media has to lead to violence and arrests, there are several others too. But what should be observed that anything, slightly against the moral code of the majority leads to intolerance of mass level.

As per a report by The Wire, the original post of Tiwari targets Islam, that should also appear in the ambit of objectionable content and Section 505 (2), Section 153 A and 153 B should be imposed on Tiwari too. There are several videos of Tiwari that can contain communal and inflammatory messages against Muslims but no action has been taken over Tiwari’s posts till now.

All of this only gives a question of to what extent, the objectionable content against the majority is being scrutinised while the content against the minority remains overlooked.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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