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Of Internet Satire and Freedom in India

What is it with politicians and their followers (holier-than-thou. mind you) who can’t take a bit of Internet satire? On Wednesday, narendramodiplans.com, a website making fun of Narendra Modi was taken down. Apparently, its creator couldn’t stand the hate-mongering that followed.

The website which went live on July 15 displayed a picture of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on a saffron background. It asked users to click on the “Get The Details” button to know Modi’s plans to run the nation and his views on 2002 riots. As you move the mouse closer to the button, it would slip away to another random part of the screen making it impossible for someone to click on the button.Narendra Modi Plans

With 60,000 hits in 20 hours of launch, the website was a runaway hit. However, the site creator took down the site with an emotional and rather frustrated notice.

It said

I quit. In a country with freedom of speech, I assumed that I am allowed to make decent satire on any politicians more particularly if its constructive. Clearly, I was wrong.

Narendra Modi Plans Taken DownFinally, the message was also removed. Now, narendramodiplans.com is just a 404 GitHub page error.Narendra Modi Plans Github

A similar website, upaplans.com which spoofs congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s achievements is still up and running. Another site, called Rahulgandhiachievements.com, displays an intentionally blank page.

Evidently, it is too much to expect a little humor sense of our Internet, where venomous trolls run amok. To be sure, we are not for or against Modi, who has the largest Twitter following in the country and is also an online phenomenon. Modi extensively uses technology to his advantage and is known to be a crowd puller, be it offline or online.

Blogger- Journalist Vs Salman Khan

Only a week ago Soumyadipta Banerjee, a Bollywood journalist was forced to write an apology to superstar Salman Khan on his blog. Banerjee had written two posts named “Ravindra Patil: The death of a messenger” and “The Wretched Witness” both describing the story of life and death of Constable Ravindra Patil, the only eye witness in Salman Khan’s Hit-and-Run-case. The post went viral. Finally, on July 8, an apology write-up on the same blog revealed that Banerjee was asked to remove both the story’s which links Salman Khan.

No wonder that India is at 140th position in the press freedom index.

Edit (based on a long conversation with a well wisher who’s unbiased, and very sensible):

Before you jump at us for taking sides, we assure you that we’re in no way privy to the real facts of the case in any of the examples above. There may be more than meets the eye, and the judges, or people will decide best. The point is about the rampant and brazen use of money, power and position to muzzle free speech, especially online, that one’s seen recently.

And that we all know is true, don’t we?

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