Harassment of Muslim women: User serves notice on Twitter

New Delhi, July 09 (KMS):  Accusing a social media app for failing to act against the accounts which have unleashed abuses and harassments targeting many Muslim women across India, a woman has opted for legal proceedings and sent a legal notice to the social media giant.

A legal notice has been served on Twitter Inc. by a Twitter user for failing to act against the accounts which have unleashed abuses and harassments targeting many Muslim women including the complainant, South Asian Wire reported.

The legal notice was sent by a Twitter user Sania Ahmad through her counsel Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanweer to Twitter and its senior legal counsel Chaitanaya Ramachandaran for “illegal omission of not removing and suspending the accounts through which she faced rape threats, hateful conduct, online sexual abuse and harassment”.

“Within 30 days from the receipt of this legal notice, failing which legal action, both civil and criminal, will be initiated against you the Addressee. Needless to mention, that any such proceedings as and when initiated shall be entirely at your cost, risk and peril, without any further reference to you,” reads the notice.

The notice pointed out that Ahmad faced sexual harassment from different accounts last year as well as this year. This happened because of her religion and gender. She reported those tweets and accounts but the social media platform failed to act against them.

It said that on 15 August last year, a Twitter account @Pro_Hindutva harassed her by asking her that how much she charges for sex for one night. She reported the account but Twitter did not suspend it. On 29 December last year, a Twitter handle @Mithilasher conducted a poll by mentioning her Twitter account and another Muslim woman’s handle asking “Which of the following Saniaz will you choose for your harem?”. The said poll remained on Twitter for the whole day even though she reported the account as well as the Tweet. On 14 May this year, a Twitter handle tweeted her photo along with another Muslim woman talking about sleeping with them.

Likewise, the notice mentioned several incidents of harassment. It also talked about the recent incident of putting on auction the Muslim women through an online hosting platform GitHub terming it ‘sulli deal’. On the GitHub, the Twitter handles of dozens of Muslim women has been put asking the people to find a sulli deal. Ahmad is one among those women. The link of this deal has been shared on Twitter.

“Since the incident (s), my client has been under an enormous amount of mental pressure, and lives in a constant fear for her life and security. Given her work involves a considerable amount of social engagement and her livelihood mostly depends on the use of social media, the same social space (Twitter) has become a source of fear and insecurity as you the addressee have failed to live up to your community standards,” said the notice.

Through the legal notice, she demanded the compensation of Rs10 lakh, the removal of the said accounts and the creation of safe space for people on its platform. She asked Twitter to take the extreme violations of the rules to the police and other authorities and ensure the inclusiveness of languages other than English in order to recognize the abusive remarks and harassment in local languages. She also asked Twitter to ensure a mechanism on its platforms that the users don’t download their photos without their consent and dedicate a team to look into the matter of hateful conduct against the marginalized sections.

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