By Arré Bench May. 06, 2020
Jamia student Safoora Zargar has been subject to sexist slander by troll accounts, most revolving around her pregnancy and marital status. A few days after the vitriol started, the Delhi Commission of Women took cognizance of the comments, and has issued a notice to the Delhi police to take action.
Over the last couple of days, as one half of social media was reeling from the disgusting “bois locker room” chats, another chunk of it was in the process of showing us exactly what these chats look like in real time.
Ever since she was arrested under the draconian UAPA for “organising an anti-CAA protest in Delhi” Jamia student Safoora Zargar has been subject to sexist slander by troll accounts on social media, most revolving around her pregnancy and marital status. The trolls started a malicious rumour about her being unmarried and used that to somehow justify why she should be detained – proving that there’s nothing that bothers trolls more than a woman doing exactly what she wishes with her body.
On Wednesday, a few days after the vitriol started, the Delhi Commission of Women took cognizance of the comments, and has issued a notice to the Delhi police to take action. The notice asks that an FIR including information of the online attack and details of the accused be filed by May 10.
#SafooraZargar is pregnant & in jail. Whether she is guilty or not, will be decided by court.
But the way trolls have outraged her modesty and vilified a pregnant woman’s character is shameful!
Issued Notice to Delhi Police Cyber Cell to imm take action against the trolls. pic.twitter.com/lpjFUCkVK1
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) May 6, 2020
Earlier, Zargar’s arrest caught the attention of prominent human rights activists and politicians. Several voices, including director Anurag Kashyap, have called the sudden arrests of anti-CAA protestors and students under the UAPA a “witch-hunt”.
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) April 19, 2020
But that hasn’t stopped sexist comments being hurled at the 27-year-old, comments that have shocked and disgusted the student’s family.
Zargar’s husband has said that he doesn’t wish to dignify the trolls with a response, while her sister has said she was extremely appalled and distraught by the comments. “I’m shocked at the lengths people are willing to go to in order to malign her image,” she said. Her husband also said that Zargar, who is in Tihar jail, doesn’t know about the trolls.
Social media users, too, were outraged by some of the comments, including one made by BJP leader Kapil Mishra regarding her pregnancy. Mishra has been widely accused of hate speech that sparked the riots in the national capital earlier this year, but has not been subjected to any police action.
Please don't connect her pregnancy with my speech
It doesn't work that way https://t.co/WtKokksIqR
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) May 3, 2020
I am short of words to express my disgust. @TwitterSafety @DelhiPolice@DCP_CCC_Delhi if u can't take action against these shameful trends and people then you are complicit. Commenting on a women's modesty in a country where women are worshipped as Devis. SHAME. #सफूरा_जरगर pic.twitter.com/aqKsHpGMZt
— Nabiya Khan | نبیہ خان (@NabiyaKhan11) May 4, 2020
Why are some useless Ppl asking if safoora is married or unmarried? How does it matter?
Who the hell are they to question #SafooraZargar 's dignity?
It just shows the upbringing of these A******. I am disturbed by all the sick comments & posts everywhere on SM about her.
— Surbhi Dwivedi (@DwivediSurbhi) May 4, 2020
It doesn’t matter if a woman is married or not. How she chooses to conceive is her choice. A mother is a mother. It is a shame that right-wing trolls cannot even show respect for an expectant mother. Such attacks prove that the Gov, does not have a case against her#SafooraZargar pic.twitter.com/qW0v3dQVkE
— शिल्पा राजपूत ~ भारतीय 🇮🇳 (@Shilpa_Bhartiy) May 5, 2020
Looking at some of the sick stuff being shared about #SafooraZargar, it makes me wonder at what point in India we made it ok to encourage a rape culture. At what point did we normalise sleazy, obscene memes and comments about women as politics? This is no country for women.
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) May 4, 2020
Zargar was arrested on April 13, and has been in prison since. Her most recent bail application was denied, but her family has said they have faith in the judiciary. With the Delhi Women’s Rights Commission now stepping in and taking notice of the comments directed at her, hopefully there will be some consequences for the sexist trolls too.