New Delhi: Journalist Rana Ayyub took to Twitter Friday to share screenshots of the several rape and death threats she has been receiving on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
According to Ayyub, these threats began after she spoke out against the recent killing of Bashir Ahmed Khan, a 65-year-old Srinagar resident, who was caught in the crossfire between militants and security personnel in Kashmir’s Sopore region Wednesday.
The killing triggered a massive controversy in the Valley, and a photograph of Khan’s grandson sitting atop his corpse has also gone viral.
“Every time I write or speak on Kashmir, the hate is unimaginable. This time however I think they are doing it brazenly. Earlier at least they used to cover their words, use a language that isn’t specific, but this time they are being specific and aren’t scared of anything,” Ayyub told ThePrint.
On Friday afternoon, she had tweeted, “My timeline, my inbox is inundated with death and rape threats the last two days for speaking on Kashmir,” with screenshots of the threats by one Pranay Bhowmik.
One can see in the messages that Bhowmik has not only used extremely foul language but also issued a ‘rape threat’. He also hurled abuses at Kashmiris and Muslims.
In another screenshot, an account called ‘Hindu Rashtra’ asked Ayyub to recall Gauri Lankesh — a journalist who was shot dead in 2017.
They are reminding me of Gauri Lankesh pic.twitter.com/QEr57VQlL1
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 3, 2020
“My Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is completely filled with hate and threats. They are reminding me of Gauri Lankesh. Every time they do this, whenever I make a statement,” she told ThePrint
The threats reminding her of Lankesh’s death have been particularly nerve-wracking for her.
“I remember three days before Gauri died, she posted on my Facebook wall when I was receiving a lot of hate, telling me that I shouldn’t worry and that these people wont do anything. Three days later she was killed so there is always a sense of fear that what if online hate will go offline,” she added.
Ayyub’s tweets on Kashmir killing
It all began when Ayyub, who is known for being critical of the Modi government, tweeted Wednesday on Khan’s killing in Jammu and Kashmir.
“When it comes to Kashmir, there are no humanists , just convenient nationalists,” she had written.
When it comes to Kashmir, there are no humanists , just convenient nationalists.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 1, 2020
On Thursday again, Ayyub tweeted a quote of the deceased civilian’s wife blaming the CRPF for her husband’s death, published in the online news portal, The Kashmir Walla.
"They killed him and then kept his three-year-old grandson on his body", the wife of the killed man can be heard saying in video
“The child’s clothes are soaked with his grandpa’s blood. He was not a militant. He was a petty employee.” #Kashmirhttps://t.co/jCb3xVOp4v
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 2, 2020
Ahmed’s family, in a video message released online, has accused the CRPF of dragging him out of his car and shooting him point blank.
However, Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar in a press conference Wednesday rubbished the claims, saying that the family was driven by militant’s threats.
Ayyub had also quoted the child’s account of his grandfather’s death from a report by ThePrint in a tweet.
Since yesterday, the child has been saying that police killed his badey papa. The child is telling us the killers were men in uniform..Heartbreaking piece by @AzaanJavaid#Kashmirhttps://t.co/rfWTkJA2tL
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 3, 2020
Police takes cognisance
The Navi Mumbai Police has taken cognisance of the threats made against Ayyub.
An inspector from the Kopar Khairane Police Station, Abhijit Madke, paid her a visit at her residence within two hours of her tagging the Mumbai Police in her tweet thread.
“The inspector was comforting and asked me to record a statement tomorrow. I will be recording my statement tomorrow and handing over all the evidence including threats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They have assured swift action,” said Ayyub.
Inspector Madke told ThePrint, “We are now taking into account the entire scene. Will reach the police station and brief seniors about the whole scene immediately. We start the investigation process from today itself.”