The Mumbai Police Cyber Cell registered an FIR against comedy group AIB co-founder Tanmay Bhat after a meme that showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi using a dog filter on Snapchat was tweeted from AIB's official Twitter handle.
When in 2015, Bollywood's King Khan -- Shah Rukh Khan -- said that there is rising intolerance in India during an interview, he was slammed by the online lynch mob and asked to go to Pakistan. A few months later, Bollywood's other superstar Khan -- Aamir Khan -- said that there is a sense of rising despondency in India and that he was shocked when his wife -- Kiran Rao -- wondered if they should move out of the country due to this, he was severely criticised too.
Today, an FIR has been filed against comedy group AIB's co-founder Tanmay Bhat after a meme, that offended many, was tweeted from the group's official Twitter handle day before yesterday. A photo of a man who resembles Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone viral on social media platforms. The man, wearing a trouser and a T-shirt, is looking into his phone at a railway station.
AIB went a step ahead and created a meme using the above image on one side and creating a new image that intended to show what the man was doing on his phone. They imagined him using Snapchat and checking out a dog filter.
The meme that was posted from AIB's verified social media handles didn't go down well with a lot of people and, quite obviously, began the trolling, mostly from the right-wingers who cannot bear a word against Narendra Modi. AIB chose to delete the meme seeing many didn't like the joke. What followed? Trolling, this time from Congress supporters and spokespersons stating that the comedy group never deleted any posts that was directed at the Congress Party.
When someone pointed out to Tanmay that American comedian Jon Stewart stands by the jokes he make, how much ever controversial, Tanmay reminded him about the truth of today's India. Tanmay said that he is not Jon Stewart and that he is not living in the United States of America, a land where a stand-up comedian -- Hasan Minhaj -- could make jokes about Donald Trump, the President of America, during a White House Correspondents' Dinner.
The fellow was sensible enough to understand where the decision to delete the meme came from.
How difficult is it to understand that making a joke is Tanmay's freedom, just like it is yours. Deleting something he posted is again his call. Disliking the joke, not agreeing to the joke is your freedom. Letting Tanmay know you are not pleased with the joke is your freedom. You can unfollow him on social media, unsubscribe from AIB's YouTube channels, but you DO NOT have the right to threaten him.
Isn't he an elected leader? If Rahul Gandhi could be made fun of, the same is applicable to Modi.
How is making a joke about Narendra Modi hurting the national sentiment? Why are we as a society oblivious to the fact that there are millions of Indians who do not approve of the prime minister and his functioning. The same goes for Rahul Gandhi or any other politician for that matter. But can that justify harassing and threatening anyone who's joking about a prominent leader?
If you are raging reading this, you are part of the problem. Your admiration for a particular leader, be it anyone, doesn't oblige others to respect them or agree with them. India's democratic fabric should be upheld and if you think you cannot stand jokes on your favourite leader, you are just proving Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan right.
It's old news that all political parties use and misuse social media platforms. From spreading fake news to propagate religious hatred to resorting to character assassination of people who choose to speak about the uncomfortable truths to harassing and threatening journalists who raise tough questions, the troll army of all parties make social media platforms a horrible place to be at.
Propaganda is peddled with the help of fake accounts that could be easily made on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and nationwide trends are created to lead people into believing that many on respective platforms care about certain issues, when in reality, they don't.
In this digital age, with so much data available about people active on social media, it is easy to threaten anyone and silence them. These eggheads (lingo for fake Twitter profiles) could be seen deactivating their accounts and running for their lives the moment official Twitter handles of police are tagged.
Reetesh Maheshwari, who has written "Nation First, Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikaas, Mission 2019, Namo Phir Se" in his Twitter bio, tweeted what translates to, "Strct action should be taken against Tanmay Bhat for ridiculing the Prime Minister of India" and tagged the Mumbai Police's official handle.
The Mumbai Police handle replied within minutes saying, "Thank you for bringing this to our notice. We are forwarding this to the cyber police station."
In the defence of Mumbai Police Cyber Cell, if a complaint is filed against someone, they will have to do their job and register and FIR.
Stabbing irony in its eye is an incident from a couple of days ago. A woman, who had to catch an early morning train from Mumbai's CST railway station, faced the horror of a stranger masturbating looking at her, she called a policeman for help. Instead of helping the woman, the cop did nothing and asked the woman to go sit somewhere else.
Question here is, what is the bigger issue? Womens' safety or some harmless memes?
Responding to a tweet asking his views about the FIR against Tanmay, Jose said...
After responding to many on Twitter, Tanmay ended the discussion once and for all, reminding everyone what the prime minister had once tweeted.