New Delhi, April 2: Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan has found himself at the centre of a troll blizzard after he made a reference to Lord Krishna while criticising the anti-Romeo squad introduced by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
Bhushan had tweeted last evening about the squad - police constables joined by vigilantes who have tormented young couples: "Romeo loved just one lady while Krishna was a legendary eve-teaser. Would Adityanath have the guts to call his vigilantes anti-Krishna squads?"
Minutes after the tweet was posted, abuses were heaped on the lawyer who had already antagonised BJP supporters by taking the Sahara-Birla payoffs controversy to court.
Among the more charitable epithets were "dog", "pig" and "donkey". Many of the tweets were peppered with filthy abuses. The Twitter warriors seemed more enraged at the inherent criticism of Adityanath than Bhushan's reference to Lord Krishna.
Some people also pointed to the "insult" to Hinduism while others accused him of protecting terrorists. Bhushan was called a "traitor" and threatened with assault - " Laat ke bhoot, baat se nahi mante (Those who need to be beaten up can't be convinced by reason)."
Bhushan offered an explanation this afternoon. "My tweet on Romeo brigade being distorted. My position is: By the logic of Romeo Brigade, even Lord Krishna would look like an eve-teaser," he tweeted.
The clarification prompted the trolls to become more abusive.
Bhushan, who launched the political outfit Swaraj India with Yogendra Yadav after being kicked out of the Aam Aadmi Party, tweeted a placatory message: "We have grown up with legends of young Krishna teasing Gopis. The logic of Romeo squad would criminalize this. Didn't intend to hurt sentiments."
The trolls, not known to follow reason or display an appetite for debate, were not satisfied as the threats and abuses continued. Many contended that the matter was too serious to be forgiven.
Tejinder Pal Bagga, who had once raided Bhushan's chamber and assaulted him, lodged a police complaint. Bagga, who recently joined the BJP, flaunts a photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Twitter account.
Lost in the Twitter cacophony was the fact that stories of Lord Krishna's flirtations with Gopis on the banks of the Yamuna are an integral part of Indian folklore and Hinduism celebrates the friendship, a point Bhushan tried to make.
Bhushan's attackers also seemed not to have realised the irony in the name "anti-Romeo squad". The Shakespearean hero, whose star-crossed love for Juliet and their death that reconciles their warring families, has little in common with the "Romeos" (an Indian coinage to describe those who harass and stalk women) that the Uttar Pradesh squad is supposed to bring to book.
The trolls defended the anti-Romeo squad. One said the "clean-up operation" should continue for five to 10 years. "To keep our sisters safe, they need to be thrashed," the troll said.
The BJP had promised in its manifesto to set up the anti-Romeo squad if it came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
The stated purpose of ensuring the security of women, however, has been negated by allegations of the squad harassing young couples, handing out "punishments" to youths with whom girls have gone out wilfully. Faces of some have been blackened and many have been forced to do sit-ups holding their ears. One youth was tonsured.
Yesterday, three policemen were suspended after a video clip showed some persons shaving the head of the youth who had gone out with a female friend