Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is the subject of a blasphemy complaint in India because a picture of him holding a sign saying “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” was taken during his recent visit to the country, infuriating religious conservatives.
Dorsey had been meeting with women journalists and activists when the picture was taken. The statement is in reference to the archaic Hindu caste system which still disproportionately hurts women and anyone on the lower rungs of the social hierarchy.
During Twitter CEO @jack's visit here, he & Twitter's Legal head @vijaya took part in a round table with some of us women journalists, activists, writers & @TwitterIndia's @amritat to discuss the Twitter experience in India. A very insightful, no-words-minced conversation � pic.twitter.com/LqtJQEABgV
— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) November 18, 2018
Feminists use the term #BrahminicalPatriarchy to talk about how #brahminical norms determine #caste & #gender relations. It is fact not violence to name how one caste through scripture has held hegemonic power for centuries. #SmashBrahminicalPatriarchy @twitterindia @jack pic.twitter.com/SYQgLvnqBx
— Dalit Diva (@dalitdiva) November 20, 2018
The sign is the reason Rajkumar Sharma, vice president of the pro-Brahmin Vipra Foundation’s youth wing, essentially filed a blasphemy complaint against Dorsey. Now a judge is letting the complaint proceed:
“Metropolitan Judge Rachan Bissa has admitted the petition and listed the matter for hearing on December 1,” the petitioner’s counsel H M Saraswat said.
Sharma said the post was “anti-Brahmin” and used coarse language, which was humiliating and thus, intolerable for the community.
It’s telling that Sharma can’t handle a statement that says women deserve equal treatment and religion plays a role in keeping them down. It’s not anti-Brahmin to say that; it’s an acknowledgement of a harsh reality.
Dorsey hasn’t apologized — and he shouldn’t. He didn’t do anything wrong. However another high-level Twitter staffer apologized on behalf of the company.
… late on Monday, Vijaya Gadde, legal, policy and trust and safety lead at Twitter, who accompanied Dorsey to India, apologised.
“I’m very sorry for this. It’s not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us — we should have been more thoughtful,” she said in a tweet.
“Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India.”
No! The lack of critical thinking is what led to the caste system. Calling for it to be dismantled is exactly what powerful tech CEOs in (or visiting) India should be doing. Respecting human rights shouldn’t be seen as taking sides.
For now, though, until a judge dismisses the case, Dorsey is charged with violating Sec. 295A of India’s Penal Code, which forbids “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 1.
(via Religion Clause)