V R Bhat, who is a prominent member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Karnataka is now facing a police complaint after he threatened a woman activist with rape on Facebook.
A Deccan Chronicle report says that Bhat posted on Facebook threatening Prabha N. Belamangala, a social activist who is secretary of NGO Janavignana Samiti, with rape. Bhat apparently wrote in his reports that “activists (like Prabha) should be dragged by their hair and sexually assaulted to correct their approach towards Hinduism,” adds the report.
A NewsMinute report quotes from Bhat’s post which read, “Poor things, what do they know, they think what they know is truth, (but) things will be all right if women like you are dragged by their hair and raped by rapists.”
So what was the reason for issuing the rape threat. According to report, it was in response to a comment that Prabha had written saying that, ” a great deal of contributions are made by the lower strata of people towards development of a nation, but the upper strata of certain religious sects take the credit.”
As this piece by Subhashini Ali on NDTV points out Bhat not only criticised “Prabha not only for her lack of understanding of Sanathana Dharma” but added “she is one of those who reads books by the famous Kannada Dalit writer, Devanur Mahadeva, and is, therefore, assured of the unqualified support of other readers like herself.”
Bhat deleted the Facebook post but not before Prabha had already taken screenshots of the posts. She then filed a complaint with the police as did other activists in “different police stations in different parts of the state,” according to the Deccan Chronicle report.
The report adds that while Bhat has been slapped with Section 66A of the IT Act, he later apologised on Facebook.
Interestingly after the news reports started coming out, the RSS has claimed that Bhat is not a member of the organisation. According to a report on NewsMinute, RSS Karnataka issued a statement which read as, “ RSS Karnataka today clarified that it has no links with the Mr VR Bhat, who’s comment for a Facebook post lead to a controversy. The said person has no responsibility of RSS. His remarks were nothing to do with RSS and RSS will never endorse such irresponsible and socially unacceptable comment. RSS completely dissociated from the said controversy as it has nothing to do with it.”
Bhat is the first nor is he going to be the last person to use rape as a viable threat on social media. Most recently TMC’s Tapas Pal had hit the headlines when he had threatened to get the wives and daughters of opposition CPI-M members raped. Pal had said, “Earlier, you guys have bullied me on various occasions. If you insult the mothers and daughters of Trinamool workers. Then I won’t spare you. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape. I will teach each of you a lesson.” Currently the Kolkata High Court has ordered a CID probe against Pal’s statement.
What is interesting in Bhat’s case is that he hasn’t yet been arrested, given that the police has shown a rather unusual alacrity when it comes to arresting those who are guilty of posting objectionable content on Facebook
In May, Bangalore police had arrested an MBA student Sayed Waqar, for sharing anti-Modi messages on WhatsApp. Waqar’s offensive message was a morphed picture showing the final rites of Modi being performed, attended by L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Baba Ramdev, Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi. It had a caption: Na Jeet Paye Jhooton Ka Sardar — Ab Ki Baar Antim Sanskar (A false leader will never win, this time it’s final rites).
Before that the Goa police had booked a young shipping professional Devu Chodankar for a Facebook post which said that the Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi would start a holocaust in India.
One wonders if in Bhat’s case, the police has given him saving time due to his alleged RSS links.