One optimistic social media influencer from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, 16-year-old Pranshu Yadav's heartbreaking experience has highlighted the adverse effects of homophobia and online harassment. His untimely death from suicide following ongoing pain he had experienced on social media serves as a stark reminder of the severe repercussions of discrimination and cyberbullying against the LGBTQIA+ community.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying refers to the deliberate and repeated use of digital communication tools such as social media, texts, or emails to intimidate, harass, or humiliate an individual or group. It involves various forms of online abuse, including threats, insults, spreading rumours, or sharing harmful content to cause emotional distress or harm.
Hate against the LGBTQIA+ community in India
In India, some people hold strong negative feelings and actions towards the LGBTQ community. They might discriminate, insult, or be mean to LGBTQ individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This discrimination can happen in different places, like schools, workplaces, or even in public spaces, making it hard for LGBTQ people to live without fear or unfair treatment.
Law relating to Cyberbullying in India
The Indian Penal Code of 1860 lacks a specific definition or punishment for bullying. Nonetheless, provisions within the IPC and the Information Technology Act of 2000 offer avenues to combat cyber bullies. These laws serve as recourse against instances of cyberbullying despite the absence of a direct statute on bullying itself.
Story of Pranshu Yadav
In a heartbreaking turn of events, the story of Pranshu Yadav, a 16-year-old aspiring social media influencer from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, has brought to light the devastating impact of online bullying and homophobia. His tragic decision to end his life after enduring incessant torment on social media platforms serves as a poignant reminder of the grave consequences of cyberbullying and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.
Pranshu, a budding makeup artist and content creator with a growing Instagram following, faced relentless online harassment due to his expression of identity through makeup and sarees. Despite his talent and creativity, he became a target of hateful comments and homophobic slurs, leading to his spiralling mental health and eventual suicide.
The LGBTQIA+ community, deeply affected by Pranshu's story, has rallied for action against online bullying and the need for a more inclusive and understanding society. Pranshu's social media posts, showcasing his artistry and the challenges individuals face expressing their gender identity, highlighted the toxicity prevalent in online spaces.
Living with his single mother, Preeti, Pranshu faced the cruelty of cyberbullying while navigating his own identity and societal norms. His untimely demise has sparked outrage and grief, prompting urgent calls for authorities to address online hate and hold those responsible accountable.
Steps that should be taken
In India, there should be strict laws against cyberbullying. People often use fake identities on the internet to shamelessly bully others based on their colour, sex, religion, or sexuality. They get away with it without facing consequences. They would have to think twice if there were strong laws before making hurtful comments. Countries like the USA, South Korea, and Japan have severe laws against cyberbullying. These laws make sure that people who bully others online face punishments. In India, having similar strong laws could help protect people from cyberbullying and make the internet safer.
In India, initiatives like the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal and the Cyber Crime Volunteer Program aim to address cyberbullying. However, their effectiveness in curbing such practices remains a subject of ongoing assessment. Awareness campaigns like 'Digital India' and 'Cyber Swachhta Kendra' promote online safety, but their impact on reducing cyberbullying requires continual evaluation and augmentation of strategies.
To stop cyberbullying on social media, we need to do several things together. We should teach people about how harmful it is, make stricter rules on social media, be kinder to each other online, help those who are bullied, encourage others to help, teach everyone how to be safe online, work with the police to stop terrible cases, and talk openly about it. Doing these things can make social media a more excellent and safer place for everyone.
Dealing with cyberbullying and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people in India involves many essential steps:
1. Facts and Figures: Adding numbers and facts about cyberbullying against LGBTQIA+ individuals in India can show how severe the problem is.
2. Emotional Impact: Talking about how cyberbullying affects people's feelings, mental health, and confidence can help us understand why it's so important to help them.
3. Getting Help: Sharing information about places where people can get support, like helplines or groups, is crucial for those facing cyberbullying or discrimination.
4. Teaching and Learning: Explaining why it's important to teach everyone in schools and communities to be kind and accepting can help stop cyberbullying before it happens.
5. Success Stories: Sharing stories about times when people stopped cyberbullying or discrimination can inspire others and show what works.
6. Social Media Responsibility: Talking about how social media websites can make things safer by stopping cyberbullying shows how everyone, including online platforms, can help create a better and safer online world.
In memory of Pranshu Yadav, this is a wake-up call to confront the harsh realities of cyberbullying and stands as a plea for a world where every individual's uniqueness is celebrated and respected. It's time to stand together against online hate and build a more inclusive and understanding society.
Rest in peace, Pranshu Yadav. Your story will continue to inspire change and remind us of the urgent need for a kinder and more empathetic world.
Disclaimer: Kindly note that the views and opinions expressed are of the author(s), not Law Colloquy.