What you need to know:
- The director explained his decision in a tweet and deleted his account soon after.
- He has always been a victim of trolls.
- His decision sparked a debate on social media about exercising freedom of expression.
Dubai: Another voice of dissent silenced in India? This what many Indian tweeps asked after Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap deleted his official twitter account on Saturday. Why? He tweeted that his family members had received online threats from trolls.
Kashyap is known for being vocal on social media, he has often called out the ruling government on certain policies and decisions. His tweets were political and discussed several issues affecting India.
In his last tweet Kashyap posted: “When your parents start to get calls and your daughter gets online threats, you know that no one wants to talk. There isn’t going to be reason or rationale. Thugs will rule and thuggery will be the new way of life. Congratulations everyone on this new India and hope you all thrive.”
Many users said he was paying a price for having a voice.
#AnuragKayshap was a top trend on Twitter as people debated over the celebrity’s decision.
Tweep @eceanik posted: “Another voice silenced.”
And, @ShamsAleemAhmed posted: “Shame on [the] government.”
Freedom of expression or drama?
While some users supported his decision, others sepculated whether this move was a publicity stunt, and accused him of “drama”.
Tweep @TheHeartOfIndia posted: “A great day for India. He portrays violence, abusive language in his third grade movies and shows. That he calls freedom of speech but when he gets the same flavour back from the society then it’s thuggery. ‘You reap what you sow’ #Hypocrite #SickularBug.”
@drvishalksingh posted: “He can go to [the] police! If he is being threatened! Why indulge in such drama to get some mileage! #AnuragKashyap … stop sermonizing if you cannot handle a different opinion!”
However, his stance brought to light the issue of freedom of speech and expression, and whether or not people could still have “opinions” in India.
@niraj_bhaai: “What happened to #AnuragKashyap will one day happen to everyone... This is some different India which I had lived in.”
Indian news anchor Sakshi Joshi (@sakshijoshii) tweeted: “All of us have gone through this phase. You may go away for a while. Take a break and then come back #AnuragKashyap. Because remember this is what they want. Your voice matters that’s why they get rattled. Think over it. Take care.”
@myyyytweets: “#AnuragKashyap, Today it’s him, tomorrow it will be us.”
@ManjulaUnname posted: “This is a sad day. Twitter has lost, trolls have won.”
And @lamRagbon requested those responsible for the threats to be “brought under law.”
He posted: “… This is really shocking.... Whoever did this to Mr Kayshap....?”
According to an article by Indian news website The Quint, in May 2019, Kashyap tweeted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his daughter had received a rape threat.
The troll’s username had the word “Chowkidar” added to it, a nickname used for Modi himself.
Kashyap had tweeted: “Dear @narendramodi sir. Congratulations on your victory and thank you for the message of inclusiveness. Sir please also tell us how do we deal with these followers of yours who celebrate your victory by threatening my daughter with messages like this for me being your dissenter.”
He then filed an FIR against the troll.
While Kashyap has voluntarily deleted his Twitter account, in the past, many celebrities and journalists were made to apologise for expressing negitive opinions against members of the current government.
In June 2019, UK-based rapper Hard Kaur was charged with sedition and an FIR was released against her. The artist posted several comments on Instagram against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
In India, journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested in the first week of June 2019, for remarks he had made against Adityanath, on social media.
Do you think voices of dissent are being silenced in India? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.