Kolkata: It all started with a Facebook page that promoted memes. What started off as an exercise in good humour soon turned into a page for sexist memes. When a software engineer-and-actor Panchali Kar protested the obscene memes, she was subjected to another round of cyber bullying. But Kar remains unfazed. She has e-mailed the screenshots of the posts of her bully to the commissioner of police, shared screenshots of her email on social media to ensure that her tormentor gets shamed publicly. Beyond the email complaint, she has lodged a general diary at the Dum Dum police station on Thursday evening.
According to Kar, cyber bullying has become a daily drama. Unfortunately, most victims are discouraged from speaking up. “But I feel keeping silent doesn’t help and we need to shame these bullies publicly. I have protested against cyber bullies earlier,” Kar said. This is the second time she has complained to the cops. “On the earlier occasion, I had taken screen shots of a person bullying someone else and mailed it to the cops. A couple of days later, I had got a reply from the police and had forwarded it to the person who was being bullied. This is the first time that I have complained to the cops for my own abuse,” she said.
Of course, the Facebook page of Bankura Memes has a disclaimer stating that sates it was hosted just for “pure humour. Don’t take the posts personally. It’s just for fun! So have fun! We don’t promote plagiarism. Our posts are original!”
From Dev to Tapas Paul, from Mamata Banerjee to Anjan Dutt – many have been a target of these memes. Initially, the memes were funny. But soon, the humour turned into obscene sexist remarks. The memes that Kar had found objectionable involves those of Shah Rukh Khan and Paoli. “I went to the page of Bankura Memes and said so in the common thread. There was nothing objectionable that I wrote while protesting. The next thing I noticed is that I was being made the target of obscene comments,” she said.
Kar wasn’t scared of protesting. “It is the bully who should be scared and not me. Srijit Mukherji has shared my post. I will continue shaming this Raj Chatterjee who was bullying me on Facebook,” Kar said.
Mukherji, who shared the post, insisted that he didn’t find anything funny in the memes. “I didn’t find it funny or humorous. Rather, they are in extreme poor taste,” the director said.
Kar insisted that her colleagues in office have been very supportive when they came to know that she had protested. “They want to know the final outcome of bullies when we shame them publicly,” she said. Though many from the film industry reacted to the obscene comments, Paoli remained silent.
Meanwhile, Bankura Memes tendered an apology on their homepage late on Thursday afternoon saying: “Apologies for the post. It was never made for disrespecting the celebrities. Tata.” Surprisingly, some supporters who didn’t like the apology either. Arfa S Anam wrote: “This page is simply made to make people laugh, if someone gets offended then I think that is their own problem. They can unfollow the page.
I don’t think Bankura Memes needs to apologize for anything. We love the page. Please go on doing what you do the best. (sic)” Another netizen Rahul Sengupta commented: “I am stunned by the reaction given by the people regarding that post. Bankura Memes just tried to crack a joke, not more than that…that shouldn’t be taken personally…until and unless one is a complete nincompoop. Grow up people and try to understand and differentiate between humour and vulgarity. I am sure these people must have laughed out loud watching the AIB roast and stuff like that.
Support to Bankura Memes. Keep up the good work and don’t ever compromise with your humour and content. And people peace it was just a joke!!!!!! Take it that way 🙂 (sic)”
Kar, on her part, said, “The reaction to the apology shows the mindset of the people who this page caters to. Initially, the content of the page was good. Personally, I had shared some content. Now, they have reduced themselves to being promoters of cheap humour. I don’t want a fake apology. They need to understand that no one can be disrespected this way.”