The student shared a picture of the ‘Shivling’ on her WhatsApp status in a way that some people found inappropriate. She has lodged a formal complaint with the police against the students accountable for sending her offensive comments and threats of sexual violence.

Mira, a Dalit student at Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, recently found herself at the centre of a disturbing online controversy. It all began innocently enough when Mira posted an image of a Shivling as part of her WhatsApp status on March 6. However, what followed was anything but innocent.

Soon after Mira’s WhatsApp status update, she became the target of relentless online harassment and even received rape threats. Fellow students at the university took it upon themselves to lead a campaign against her, sharing the link to her Instagram profile in college groups with the intention of, in their words, “teaching her a lesson.”

The image Mira posted depicted a Shivling, a sacred symbol in Hinduism, in a manner that offended some individuals. However, the backlash she faced went far beyond mere disagreement over the depiction. Mira, who identifies as an Ambedkarite and is vocal about her views, believes that her harassers are affiliated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

This isn’t the first time Mira has experienced online harassment. Prior to the WhatsApp status incident, she claims to have been targeted on platforms like Instagram. Fake accounts were allegedly created in her name, some even soliciting money from her followers under false pretenses. 

The messages Mira received after her WhatsApp status update were not only disturbing but also deeply hurtful to her person. She was attacked both as a woman and as a Dalit, receiving derogatory remarks and rape threats. Some messages contained anti-Dalit slurs and curse words, reflecting the ugly face of discrimination and bigotry.

Despite the threats and the vitriol directed towards her, Mira continues to stand firm in her beliefs, often quoting Ambedkar and Jyotirao Phule. The incident however, serves as a stark reminder of the rigorous scrutiny faced by marginalized communities, both online and offline.

Featured image credits: TheWire

Lakshita Arora 

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