By Sharanya Gopinathan
It’s being reported that Baroda-based artist Rollie Mukherjee has been locked out of her social media account since April 29th after relentless trolling from people who took objection to the content and themes in her work. She creates beautiful pieces on Kashmir and the struggles of its people, particularly women.
She told The Wire that she has faced abusive trolling for months now, from people who take offence at her work for representing the people of Kashmir. The report says that one person even sent her a fake form that they said was for “research purposes”, but was actually just full of leading questions about herself, her beliefs and political leanings, her family, and her sources of funding. She’s also constantly smeared online and in public discussions, and also noticed patterns in the trolling, and more sinister still, that some of the profiles trolling her were shady-looking ones that seemed fake and like they were newly created just for trolling purposes.
She believes that these trolls have reported her profile to Facebook repeatedly, causing her to be locked out of her social media account. Facebook has a policy of verifying and asking for identification details once a profile has been reported repeatedly, and its clearly another effective (albeit temporary) weapon available to trolls online who are trying to take down certain posts and content using any methods they can.
Don’t forget though, that this news is being reported at a time when, for the first time ever, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have been banned by the Indian government in Kashmir. The government has cut internet signals in the region before, but this is the first time social media is being blocked specifically.
Either way, Mukherjee’s art that’s got trolls all riled up is really beautiful and poignant. She says she often centres the stories and feelings of women in her work, like “half-widows, mothers” in her paintings, in order to depict their experiences and the kind of visuals that disturb her.
Check out her work here.