It all started after she wrote on the rape complaints against Raghaveshwara Bharati in 2014
Image: Chetana Thirthahalli, Alavikaa La/Facebook

Two days after she filed a complaint with the Bengaluru police for online harassment, Chetana Thirthahalli says she is still being abused.

Chetana Thirtahalli (36), a columnist for a Kannada website, lodged a complaint against two Facebook users – Madhusudhan Gowda and Jagrutha Bharatha at the Hanumnatha Nagar police station on October 10, after being inundated with lewd comments. Recently, she also received a rape threat on Facebook after attending a beef eating fest she has alleged in the complaint.

Speaking to The News Minute on Sunday, she said: “I have been receiving threatening messages for five to six months now. But after MM Kalburgi incident, I felt it is not safe to ignore such things,” she said.

Stating that she was still being abused by people on Facebook, Chetana said: “They target me indirectly by referring to my pen name – Alavikaa La – that I use for my columns for websites News Kannada and Agni,”she said.

According to her complaint, two people who called themselves “Hindu Rashtra Rakshak” (Protector of Hindu Nation) abused her in their Facebook posts and also sent her lewd messages.

“They demanded that I stop writing critically on any Hindu issues, including the Dadri incident, asked me to refrain from writing for websites that promote progressive thoughts,” she said.

Calling herself a liberal and a feminist, Chetana said that she has also voiced out against incidents of moral policing in the state. One of these includes the Attavar incident in which a Muslim man was stripped to his underwear, tied to an electric police and beaten for an hour before police arrived.

Chetana has been a journalist for the last 10 years and writes columns for Mangaluru-based News Kannada website and Bengaluru-based Agni.

She claimed that it all started after she wrote on the rape complaints against Raghaveshwara Bharati in 2014 when the issue first began to get attention.

In a Facebook post on September 5 on Alavikaa La (a profile she has opened with her pen name), she expressed dismay over the remarks made by senior advocate Pramila Nesargi in support of Raghaveshwara Bharati.

“It is both a matter of disrespect and astonishment that someone like Pramila Nesargi has called a woman ‘Shurpanakhi’ for speaking up against rape, which is a sensitive issue,” Chetana had posted about a remark made by Nesargi referring to one of the complainants against Raghaveshwara Bharati.

Hanumantha Nagar police have filed a case against Jagrutha Bharatha and Madhusudhan Gowda under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (word gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.  The case has been handed over to cyber-crime cell.