Sushant Singh?s Death Cannot Be Avenged by Rape Threats

Indian social media is infested with trolls. Be it politics, films, stand-up comedy, or nearly anything else, discussion in almost every sphere is dominated by hateful accounts who pile on to targeted individuals with a torrent of abuse and threats. Actress Rhea Chakraborty recently declared “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” in a post on social media, sharing a screenshot of the kind of abuse she had been receiving online for over a month now.

Chakraborty attracted the negative attention of internet trolls due to her connection to Sushant Singh Rajput, whose death by suicide opened a can of worms about nepotism in Bollywood. While the intention of calling out nepotism might appear wholesome, the manner in which many trolls chose to attack the perceived beneficiaries of said nepotism was disgusting. Rhea Chakraborty is only one of many who have had to face such abuse in recent weeks.

Alia Bhatt, who comes from a film family, was one of the most attacked personalities in the wake of Rajput’s death. The trolling got so vicious that even her family was not spared. Alia’s sister Shaheen Bhatt, a writer, also received threats of rape and murder. Shaheen shared the screenshots on social media, giving a glimpse of the kind of attitudes prevailing among social media trolls.

After Shaheen shared her story, her mother Soni Razdan also took to Instagram to make a statement against the abusive behaviour of troll accounts. “Social media has for too long now become the most antisocial media mainly because those running the platforms are not doing enough to prevent abuse,” she said in her post.

These vile threats are not the sole preserve of anonymous trolls. Even small-time influencers indulge in such reprehensible behaviour. This was seen over the last weekend, when controversy over an old performance of stand-up comic Agrima Joshua was perceived as being insulting to Shivaji, leading to a flood of abuse coming her way.

With social media now a central component of our online interaction, this troll culture needs to be seriously addressed by the platforms where it thrives. We need better internet policing. As the victims themselves have been saying, enough is enough.

This article was first published in Arre