Hoist by His Own Pe­tard

India Today - - UPFRONT - @ShougatDas­gupta

It’s been a bad week for Ashish Kaul, erst­while Twit­ter troll. A re­cent mis­sive in his stan­dard, charm­ing style be­gan “I love when Kashmiri Mus­lim women cry on roads”. His cel­e­bra­tion of the mur­der, rape and maim­ing of women caused suf­fi­cient ou­trage to force Twit­ter to sus­pend his ac­count, his Amer­i­can em­ployer to fire him, and the po­lice to file an FIR. De­fend­ers of free speech will, cor­rectly, point out that peo­ple should be al­lowed to air their opin­ions, how­ever pro­foundly vi­o­lent, stupid and of­fen­sive. But the right to an opin­ion can­not and should not pro­tect you from real world con­se­quences. Part of liv­ing in a still-di­verse democ­racy is a com­pact to re­spect fel­low cit­i­zens. Kaul’s pan­tomime vil­lain act on so­cial me­dia may have won him friends among the key­board Hin­dutva army but he ap­pears to have con­fused the per­sona with the per­son. Twit­ter is a nest of vipers, so venom is per­haps only to be ex­pected. Nice though on oc­ca­sion to see bul­lies get their come­up­pance. Now what do we do about our politi­cians?

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