Another lie from Rahul Ghandy’s Party MLA who cannot do anything good for India. Pramod Muthalik is not a member of BJP. I condemn Muthalik’s statement comparing Dogs to Gauri Lankesh. He has insulted the Dogs which are more faithful to their Masters than venomous #UrbanNaxals.” tweeted C.T Ravi, BJP MLA from Chikmagalur, Karnataka referring to a tweet by Jignesh Mevani condemning the statement of Pramod Muthalik. Muthalik made a comparison of the death of a dog to the murder of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead on September 5, 2017. C.T Ravi has more than 117000 followers on Twitter including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The tweet sarcastically condemns the statement of Muthalik with yet another disreputable comment stating that it is an insult to dogs.

More abuses from right-wing handles

“I strongly object to Pramod Muthlik for Insulting Dogs by comparing them to Gauri Lankesh Please Respect Dogs”, tweeted Roop Darak(@roopnayandarak), who is followed by BJP President Amit Shah, in a response to a tweet from Shakhnaad.

Darak has pictures of himself with MLA C.T. Ravi, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. A day before the above tweet, he had tweeted, “Pramod Muthalik insulted Dogs, Shame on him“.

Roop Darak flanked by the prominent leaders of BJP Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Moreover, the tweet from Roop Darak(@roopnayandarak) was supported by a right-wing handle @NikunjSahu who is followed by both the official handles of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His bio states, “Nation First, Business Next, Self Last | Member of BJP IT Cell | Proudly followed by PM Narendra Modi Ji | (Tweets & Abuses are extremely personal)”.

Muthalik compares Lankesh with a dog

Roop Darak was referring to a comment made by Pramod Muthalik, chief of Sri Rama Sene at a public meeting in defence of PM Modi’s silence on the sensational murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Muthalik questioned the people, “Why should the prime minister react if some dog dies in Karnataka?”. The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of Gauri Lankesh has arrested a 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmore, who is said to have pulled the trigger. Waghmore is allegedly a Sri Ram Sene activist. A photo of Parashuram Waghmore and Pramod Muthalik was also viral on social media before he made the public statement.

History of abuse and slander

Alt News had reported how many right-wing accounts had been spewing abuses on social media against journalist Gauri Lankesh when she was murdered. Nikhil Dadhich’s tweet was the most horrendous, comparing those condemning the act with puppies crying out for their dead mother. The tweet created an outrage against PM Modi for following such abusers on social media.

एक कुतिया कुत्ते की मौत क्या मरी सारे पिल्ले एक सुर में बिलबिला रहे है। 😜😜 अब ये कौन कह रहा है किसी शिष्य ने गुरु दक्षिणा में #GauriLankesh को वही दे दिया जिसकी शिक्षा वामपंथी अपने शिष्यों को देते है? (Translation: A bitch died a dog’s death and all of her litter is crying in the same voice)” tweeted Nikhil Dadhich(@nikhildadhich) on 5th September after news of Gauri Lankesh’s murder broke out. Dadhich now has a verified Twitter account with more than 42000 followers. Along with Dadhich, two more Twitter accounts Rita(@RitaG74), with more than 58000 followers and Ashish Mishra pune(@aashish81us) with more than 17000 followers had hurled abuses on Lankesh. It may be noted that all the abuser mentioned in the article till date are followed by the Prime Minister.

Why is the PM still following them?

In a public statement issued on 7th September 2017, BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya stated that the Prime minister is a believer of freedom of speech and expression and has never blocked or unfollowed anyone on Twitter. He further stated that PM following someone is not a character certificate of a person. This was in response to the question raised against PM Modi following trolls and accounts who regularly abuse people disagreeing with the BJP.

The argument of freedom of speech and expression that is touted in defense of following such serial abusers on social media defies logic. Unfollowing a person does not restrict that person’s freedom of speech and expression as the person can continue to post according to Twitter’s policies. However, the failure to unfollow such abusers reflects poorly on the Prime Minister and his office.

About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.