Online “auctions” of women are just the latest attacks on Muslims in India

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, says slow action is part of a larger pattern. She says authorities are quick to accuse government critics, but “hate speech and acts of violence by government supporters are rarely prosecuted.”

Social media companies, which have the ability to remove abusive posts and prevent misinformation, are not filling the void. “Tech companies remove content based on their community guidelines and local laws. In this case, both were violated, “says Krishnesh Bapat, Digital Fellow, Center for Communication Governance, Internet Freedom Foundation, Delhi. “GitHub, to the best of my knowledge, does not actively remove content. GitHub did not respond to a request for comment on its policies.

In India, almost all types of online harassment fall into the general category of cyber threats. India’s Information Technology Act, 2000, commonly known as Cyber ​​Law, regulates online abuse. The act was intended to focus on e-commerce but was adjusted in 2008 to cover cybercrime as well. Harassment can also come under the country’s overall penal code, Nappinai says, which could help protect victims in serious cases.

Still, some say the country’s online laws need to be reformed. Anushka Jain, a lawyer for the Internet Freedom Foundation, believes the digital world has changed a lot for the law to be effective. Some provisions of ” [Cyber] The law has become futile and unable to address current issues and rapidly evolving changes and threats, “she said.” The government needs a holistic approach to cyber policy, including strict legislation.

In addition to harassment, Muslims in India are also struggling with online misinformation. For example, last September, the Muslim family-owned halal-certified food products company ID Fresh faced a massive misinformation campaign on social media claiming that the company was mixing beef bones and veal to increase ready-to-quantity. . – Cook the batter and urge “every Hindu” to avoid the products. The company faced a boycott and saw a decline in its sales; He had to launch his own campaign to set the record straight.

So far, there has been little movement from tech companies or the Indian government to change the situation. That leaves little room for victims like commercial pilot Hana Mohsin Khan Took to Twitter To express her anger when she saw a picture of him at the January auction. “Muslim women have been targeted again. Yet no action will be taken again, “she wrote.” We are trapped in a never ending cycle of anger and anguish. Every single day. ”

Safi’s prophet Kashmir is an independent multimedia journalist based in South Asia.

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