Kerala YouTuber Deserves Punishment for “Feminists Don’t Wear Underwear” Remark But Mob Justice is Not It

Gender

Kerala YouTuber Deserves Punishment for “Feminists Don’t Wear Underwear” Remark But Mob Justice is Not It

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

It’s no secret that most women in this country have been subjected to misogynistic statements at some point in their lives, either by men known to them or by public figures, such as actors or politicians. In Kerala, one group of activists decided they had had enough of this slander and decided to take matters into their own hands.

On Saturday, the team of activists, led by dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi, poured motor oil over a YouTuber from Kerala, who is notorious for his anti-women views. In an incident that was live-streamed on Facebook, the women are seen raising slogans and demanding an apology from Vijay P Nair, the YouTuber known for his off-colour remarks.

The police soon rushed to the spot to defuse the situation, and eventually filed a bailable case against Nair for his videos. A non-bailable case has also been filed against the activists for the assault and the police have been accused of siding with Nair, according to a report in The New Indian Express.

“We went to his place and asked him about his heinous act on social media. When he verbally abused me, I slapped him. Later, we took his laptop so that he would not be able to destroy the materials stored in the hard disk,” activist Bhagyalakshmi was quoted as saying after the incident.

In her complaint, she has accused the YouTuber of making a number of disgusting remarks on his channel, including one in which he asks why “feminists don’t wear underwear”, and another in which he likened the movement to prostitution.

In his videos, Nair specifically names a few activists as well, including Rehana Fathima and Bindu Ammini, who made national news during the Sabarimala temple protests.

The activists first approached the police on Saturday morning over the incident. But after claiming police were sleeping on their complaint, they confronted Nair in his house that evening. The police have said that there wasn’t enough time to verify the complaint before they could take action. They will now investigate complaints filed against Nair under sections related to insulting and outraging the modesty of a woman.

The activists have received a lot of support from social media with many cheering the assault.

Kerala YouTuber Nair’s remarks were indeed derogatory and he deserves to be punished, and while a non-bailable charge against the activists might be harsh, were they right to barge into the YouTuber’s home and beat him up? The state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while calling for a strict investigation into Nair’s videos, also warned the activists against taking the law into their own hands. No matter what, mob justice is not the answer.

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