"Women have been getting threats on social media, a girl has committed suicide because her picture was photo-shopped...say what you want on the Net but if there is a case of abusive crime, stalking, then my department will take cognizance," promised the union minister, who also met a senior official from social networking site Twitter today, as her ministry frames a mechanism to act against those who stalk or bully women online.
A senior bureaucrat, Chetan Sanghi, will have charge of the new cell.
On Tuesday, Mrs Gandhi had asked women who face abuse on the internet to email her. "Are you a woman who is trolled or abused? Inform me at firstname.lastname@example.org," she tweeted.
By the next day, she was swamped with complaints.
The minister had then advised women and children to use the hashtag #IamtrolledHelp to draw attention and raise an alarm if they are "bullied, stalked or abused online," and asked the National Commission for Women or NCW to monitor such cases.
An alarmed NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam protested that policing the Internet will be impossible. "You can't police the net. It is an open space, it is like a galaxy almost. There are billions of twitter accounts and no organisation can keep an eye on twitter. It is not physically possible for anybody to say we are following everybody's twitter," Ms Kumaramangalam said, adding that the only the police can act on this.
"We will not police or patrol the Internet. If a complaint is made to my email we will see what we can do," Maneka Gandhi said today.
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