Saturday, April 13, 2024

Women journalists condemn targeted harassment of TN Dalit writer Shalin Maria Lawrence

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The Network of Women in Media, India, strongly condemns the continuous and ongoing harassment of Chennai-based Dalit writer and activist Shalin Maria Lawrence on social media sites.

Shalin who is a columnist for various English and Tamil publications, has been facing high-volume targeted harassment on Twitter as well as Facebook over the past year, specifically from handles associated with the DMK, ruling party in Tamil Nadu and the BJP, ruling party in Union.

Shalin has used social media to raise awareness of caste-related atrocities in Tamil Nadu, especially those that might not find a mention in regional media, said NWMI. This, according to NWMI, has drawn the ire of both right-wing groups as well as persons associated with the DMK.

“However, rather than engaging in introspection or at least combating her with facts, figures, or ideas, they have taken to coordinated attacks, bombarding her with demeaning language including casteist slurs, body shaming her, slurs based on her religion, and making scurrilous charges against her character and integrity. They have also targeted her close family members,” read NWMI’s statement.

“Shalin’s refusal to be silenced comes at a great cost to her physical and mental health. Nevertheless, she persists to speak and write on caste and women because she believes these are important issues that must find a place in public discourse,” it said.

The DMK and BJP should send a strong message to their supporters that the harassment of women writers, journalists, and activists cannot be tolerated, let alone permitted, the women journalists’ collective urged.

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