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How media and ‘liberals’ turned a blind eye when trolls abused Phogat sisters

Author: shaz
Publication: Opindia.com
Date: March 2, 2017
URL:   http://www.opindia.com/2017/03/how-phogat-sisters-were-subjected-to-sexist-and-elitist-attacks-for-taking-a-stand/

What started with a joke by Sehwag, has now unfurled into a full-blown war on social media. Sehwag was hounded in the initial rounds, and along with him, Randeep Hooda too faced attacks because he supported Sehwag. That was round one of the war. Round two saw even more celebrities facing the onslaught of sexist and elitist attacks.

In one of the attacks, since Haryana and girls of Haryana (who have brought laurels to this country) were dragged, the proud daughters of Haryana, Geeta and Babita Phogat spoke out. The same Phogats, whom entire India celebrated though the movie Dangal just a few weeks back.

To my horror, they too were ridiculed. And that too by the same group who were till now asking Sehwag & Hooda to pick on “someone of their own size”. Rajya Sabha MP & lyricist Javed Akhtar called them uneducated, unworthy people:

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Javed Akhtar @Javedakhtarjadu
If a hardly literate player or a wrestler troll a pacifist daughter of a martyr its understandable but whats wrong with some educated folks
4:54 PM - 28 Feb 2017

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Self-proclaimed film critique KRK joined in, made some nasty personal comments:

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KRK @kamaalrkhan
Ye Lo ji @BabitaPhogat Jisko Theek Se Bolnaa Tak Nahi Aata, Usko Bhi Pata Chal Gaya Ki #GurmeharKaur is speaking against the nation. Lol!😭😳
1:32 AM - 1 Mar 2017

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KRK @kamaalrkhan
आजकल फर्जी देशभक्ति दिखाकर सरकारी तलवे चाटने की होड़ सी मची हुई है! फिर वो चाहे दो कौड़ी के निर्देशक हो, हीरो हो, या कोई और खिलाड़ी हो!🙈😭
1:54 AM - 1 Mar 2017

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KRK @kamaalrkhan
I was having highest respect for Phogat girls but they don't deserve it, because They are born to live on govt incentives n benefits only.
12:31 PM - 1 Mar 2017

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This guy, who has in his Twitter header image a photo with RK Pachauri, a person accused of sexually harassing women, had the galling hypocrisy to call Geeta Phogat as belonging to gutter and accusing her of sending abuses while she was battling abuse from likes of him:

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Priya Ramani @priyaramani
Oh just saw @geeta_phogat pinned tweet that has resulted in a volcano of abuse. Disgusted. There are no heroes on twitter.
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Prasanto K Roy @prasanto
@priyaramani right on, Priya. Abuse + usual threats for @RanaAyyub. Our sports icons keep stumbling into the gutter @geeta_phogat
3:30 PM - 1 Mar 2017

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Among other notable attacks was this, by a senior journalist, who referred to female athletes as “Ms Phokat” (Miss Free). Imagine the outrage if such a comment was made on the character of a left leaning celebrity by a right-winger:

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Madhavan Narayanan @madversity
Ms Phokat
February 28, 2017
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Phogat sisters were called “trolls” because they defended Haryana and opposed “Bharat tere tukde honge” gang:
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Sandeep Kadian @GappistanRadio
Lowlife troll mocking women because they spoke their mind. Well, women, misogynistic trolls like this guy are a minority. https://twitter.com/joydas/status/836628039890935808 …
11:50 PM - 1 Mar 2017

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Apart from Phogat Sisters, Even Sehwag’s wife was not spared, who was attacked by AAP supporters with obscene messages:

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Ishant Sharma @CrimeMasterV2
AAP supporters now targeting Sehwag's wife with filthy messages. Will @ArvindKejriwal take responsibility?
6:16 PM - 1 Mar 2017

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These are just a few among thousands of other abusive messages they are receiving. And all this while, the same group that furiously defended Gurmehar Kaur and hounded anyone who commented on her or jokes about her, maintained strategic silence, emboldening further attacks on the sisters by random trolls.

Suddenly the “She is just 20 years old, don’t attack her” argument became invalid as the 20-odd year old Phogats are on the other side. These girls deserve abuse, contempt, ridicule because they say “Bharat mata ki Jai” and not “Bharat tere tukde honge”. All they did was to speak up against branding entire Haryana as anti-woman and talked about defending India’s interests. No country for Nationalists?

Why are they not being given the same treatment and headlines as Gurmehar? Phogat sisters have earned their respect, their place in society by sheer hard-work and if we fail them we are failing our generation of independent women. They are guilty of a lack of compassion as those they’re accusing till yesterday. Hounding people with contrary views when it is convenient doesn’t help.

This is where we lose out the battle of feminism in true essence. The secular-liberals are choosing to maintain stoic silence when middle-aged “educated” men with no achievements, question women who have achieved a lot, far beyond their age & what was provided to them. And this silence is only to protect their own 20-year-old face, who made headlines.

There in inherent elitism and class war in what is going on. Rooted desi girls who are not fluent in English versus the typical city girls who are preferred by the English language media protectors. Do we hate the fact that these “desi girls” are actual robust modern women who don’t bog down, who speak from their heart, sometimes enunciating even those views, which are now not palatable to the Lutyens sophisticated media?

Are we saying that while one 20-year-old has all the rights to Freedom of Expression, the Phogat sisters have none? The hypocrisy of our liberals is mind numbing. Their silence on incessant trolling, including by some “verified” handles, shows complete bias. Their famed feminism while defending one Gurmehar, and the lack of it when ignoring the other Phogat sisters stands exposed.

Wake up Delhi media, they are not “allegedly” trolled or insulted. The proof is right there for you to see just that you have chosen not to. If the girls are not playing victim, it doesn’t mean that they are not victim.

And it is much more than it looks. It is not just about Gurmehar vs Phogat sisters or ABVP vs AISA or any individual or group or democracy. It is much more than that. Try to see the message we are conveying to coming generations. Who do we want to be their idols? Is this how we are going to raise strong independent women? By insulting them for taking a stand?

Sorry Geeta and Babita, we have failed you.
 
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