09, Jan 2019 | CJP Team
CJP has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), highlighting one of many Facebook profiles that engage in hate speech online. The profile belongs to one Deepak Sharma, who has previously been embroiled in multiple controversies, first gaining notoriety when he released video allegedly depicting him beating up a young boy, and accusing him of creating memes about his religion.
In our letter to the NHRC, CJP noted that the ubiquity of social media has allowed it to become a powerful tool for positive purposes, and, unfortunately, negative ones. Sharma’s Facebook profile has a host of provocative posts. In September 2018, he shared a post made by another Facebook user that said, “If a priest or maulvi comes to me for religious conversion then I will file an SC/ST case against them”. It added, “If I am removed from the temple and insulted in front of Muslims then they will also be stuck inside”. Sharma shared this post, saying he agreed.
CJP believes that hate has no place in India, and is against our values of secularism and democracy. We are working to tackle hate and hate speech in all forms. To support our efforts, please donate generously here.
His Facebook profile is currently unavailable, but it is unclear whether Sharma himself, or Facebook, took it down. When the profile was active, it had more than 40,000 followers, indicating that Sharma had a wide reach. His posts, some of which were highlighted by our sister publication SabrangIndia, garnered several thousand reactions. Another Facebook page that seems to be associated to, or operated by him, currently has more than 8,500 followers.
In our letter, CJP stressed that hate speech online is not only harmful on its own, but can also impact marginalised communities offline. We noted, “Earlier this year, in October, CJP wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as well as Facebook, highlighting a recent targeting of the St. Thomas Church in Varanasi and hate- filled Facebook posts connected to the incident. While the posts we flagged seemed to have been taken down (although it is unclear whether the users took them down or Facebook), tackling individual posts in what seems to be a tidal wave of hate speech on social media platforms has little effect. It is clear that action needs to be taken against individuals who routinely spread hate on social media, particularly because it moves offline as well, either through them, or their acolytes.”
CJP’s letter to the NHRC may be read here: