The Cyber Crime wing of the Chennai Police arrested Kishore K Swamy, a self-attested 'political analyst', for engaging in continuous harassment of women journalists on social media. The arrest comes following a complaint filed by Tamil Nadu Women Journalists Forum.
As per the police complaint filed by Tamil Nadu Women Journalists Forum in July 2019, Kishore K Swamy, a popular AIADMK and BJP supporter on social media has been harassing women journalists by posting obscenities on them on social media, especially Twitter. The complaint narrated at least three different instances in which Kishore had insulted women journalists on social media. He also indulged in character assassination of these women journalists and instigated people from a particular religion against them. Based on these instances, the complaint had also urged the Chennai Commissioner of Police to take stringent action against him. Based on this complaint, the Cyber Cell had registered an FIR against him under sections 354D (Stalking), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and section 4 (Harassment of Women) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act, 1998.
However, he was released on bail later in the afternoon.
Speaking to TNM, Jaya Bathuri, the Coordinator of the Tamil Nadu Women Journalists Forum said that they had ignored him for long considering that he was doing it for 'fame'. “But when this (posting abusive posts online about women journalists) became a daily affair, we had to react at some point. When women are already in a field where entry for women is difficult, such fascists must be dealt with,” she said. She also added that when representatives from the Forum had approached the Commissioner of Police to file a complaint, they were told that there were already quite a few complaints against Kishore from other journalists. “The Commissioner had assured us of action against him,” she added.
Kishore Swamy has moved from one political camp to another over the years. While he was initially an 'AIADMK supporter', he became a Sasikala loyalist after Jayalalithaa's death. Later, he claimed to be with TTV Dhinakaran faction for a while. These days, his tweets and Facebook posts have been in favour of the BJP. However, all these parties, especially the AIADMK has said that he has nothing to do with the party.
In the last one and half years, multiple women journalists have filed complaints against the man for vile tweets that amount to sexual harassment. Other than the Tamil Nadu Women Journalists Forum, individual women journalists and a few male counterparts too had filed complaints. English news channels, however, continued to call Kishore K Swamy as an 'expert guest' on their debates, though journalists working with these organisations have themselves complained of harassment.
Sonia Arunkumar, another representative of Tamil Nadu Women Journalists Forum, said that Kishore is a serial offender who has been posting abusive posts about those in media and media organisations for many years. “He posts about everybody. Men, women, senior journalists, everybody. We wanted to convey that we will not take it lightly and that’s why we decided to lodge formal complaint,” she said.
Adding that Kishore has always been shifting loyalties in the past, she also pointed out that more damage is done by those who spread his posts and engage with him. “For instance, at present if you check it is the BJP supporters who are giving more mileage to his tweets and propagating it. This emboldens him. As a party, they could have at least desisted from encouraging him or giving him any kind of validation. His posts have given young women journalists, who are new to the field, immense mental agony,” she added.