Woman files complaint following cyber bullying by supporters of Pathanamthitta Cong MP

In her complaint Lakshmi alleges that she was harassed and bullied by users who came out in support of the Congress MP.
Woman files complaint following cyber bullying by supporters of Pathanamthitta Cong MP
Woman files complaint following cyber bullying by supporters of Pathanamthitta Cong MP

On January 16, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Kollam bypass in Kerala. On the same day, a Twitter conversation by user Lakshmi Venugopal on the construction of the long pending Thiruvalla bypass in Kottayam blew up into a controversy involving the Member of Parliament of the area.

It started with Lakshmi’s innocuous saying, “If Modi is smart, let him finish the Tiruvalla bypass and show us.” The tweet was an obvious dig at the long pending construction of the bypass. But from here, things started to get problematic for Lakshmi.

A Congressman named Matthew then cracked another joke on the BJP and CPI(M) and said that only the Congress was going to finish the bypass. He tagged Pathanamthitta Congress MP Anto Antony and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

“We were making fun of politicians there and then came a guy who is a supporter of Congress. He made fun of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister and tagged the MP of our constituency, Mr Anto Antony and Mr Oommen Chandy to the tweet. I didn’t identify the political thing he did here, otherwise, I’d have ignored him. Seeing this tweet, I said the first thing which came to my mind, that I don’t think this MP knows if Thiruvalla is there,” Lakshmi said.

Surprisingly, the MP stepped in here and replied that he visits Thiruvalla often to inaugurate events and he is even coming on that very day. “I would like to see you. Do share with me your phone number so that I can let you know when I am in Thiruvalla,” he added in his tweet written in Malayalam.

Lakshmi responded to this by asking if the MP can name 10 things he has done for Thiruvalla in the last two terms that he held office. Starting from this point, she claims that several other users jumped into the conversation, some criticising her, others harassing her for questioning the MP.

One user even went to the extent of taking the family photo of the man who was part of the original conversation with Lakshmi and tagging it with a derogatory and nasty comment.

Lakshmi chronicled all this on a blog that was shared by many on social media.

On January 26, Lakshmi approached Kerala Cyber Police and the Chief Minister’s office with a complaint against nine Twitter handles for harassing her.  

“I am facing threats and targeted attacks since January 16th 2019. Mr MP or Mr Oommen Chandy who are in the loop haven't done anything to stop these attacks or given me an answer,” she stated in the complaint.

On Saturday, following the complaint, the MP addressed Lakshmi in a thread and claimed her attempts to get elected representatives answer questions was her way of seeking 'unnecessary attention'

“Dear Lakshmi, unnecessary attention seeking is not the means to getting your elected representative to answer your concerns. If you really want to know, all you can do is visit my office or call my office or even better, just call me like everyone else. Your intentions to hold office bearers accountable is applaudable but if you craft futile allegations based on speculations, you're most likely going to get a humorous reply,” he said.

He then apologised on behalf of Twitter handles who were attempting to advocate for him.

“Last but not the least, if you felt the slightest of cyber harassment from anyone trying to advocate for me, I apologise on behalf of them. Let all of them know through this tweet that I condemn such condescending statements for any reason whatsoever.,” he said. Attached with this thread was also a list of achievements that the MP did in his 10 year stint in Thiruvalla.

The MP’s attempt to brand Lakshmi’s tweet as attention seeking has been condemned by many users.

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