#ChandigarhStalking and the beautiful mind of Prashant P Umrao

It doesn’t seem like the SC advocate knew what he was tweeting about.

WrittenBy:Shruti Menon
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It is times like these that we seriously wonder what it must be like to live in the beautiful mind of a Right-wing twitterati. We thought we’d use the word troll, but a Supreme Court advocate wouldn’t exactly make the cut. But we digress.

Coming back to the wonderful workings of the said beautiful mind, it never ceases to amaze us how any occurrence in the cosmos can give birth to conspiracy theories that go like ‘oh-look-liberals-out-to-destroy-BJP’. This is when the Bharatiya Janata Party and its mothership, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have never been on as firm a footing as now. The trigger this time was a stalking complaint by a Chandigarh-based DJ, Varnika Kundu. You can read the details of the incident in this chilling Facebook account that Kundu wrote after her ordeal. One of the accused in the crime happens to be Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala. This was ground enough to discredit her story and label her an agent working towards the demise of the Saffron League. The persecution complex played out today in the looniest of ways — our favourite theory is that she’s a Scroll.in journalist — but a certain Mr Umrao took the dung cake away.

Any profile with Veer Savarkar as its banner picture automatically raises our hopes. Supreme Court advocate Prashant P Umrao did not disappoint. Umrao tweeted out an image of Kundu, presumably from her Facebook profile, where she’s seen hanging out with two of her friends.

Umrao, for reasons best known to him, tweeted out the image stating that Kundu is seen in the picture with the accused, Vikas Barala. This is absolutely incorrect and nothing more than the SC advocate’s, umm, unhinged imagination. The fact that the tweet is based on zero facts, however, has not prompted Umrao to either delete the tweet or issue a correction. We thought it’s best to reach out to him and ask him what exactly is going on. Here’s how that conversation went.

Shruti: Aapko ye picture kahan se mili? Apko kaise pata ki ye Vikas Barala hi hai? (Where did you get this picture from? How do you know that’s Vikas Barala?)

Prashant: Mujhe mili kahin se, maine post kar diya. Social media hai, koi bhi post kar sakta hai. (I got it from somewhere, I posted it. It’s social media, anyone can post things.)

S: Are you sure that this is Vikas Barala?

P: Mujhe is baare me idea nahi hai ki ye kaun hai, mai toh jaanta nahi. (I have no idea. I don’t know)

S: Ye aap hi ne tweet kiya haina ki jo victim hai vo Vikas Barala ke sath hai photo me? (You have tweeted this, right? That the victim is with Vikas Barala in the picture?)

P: Haan maine tweet kiya hai. (Yes, I tweeted this.)

S: Isme Vikas kaun hai aap bata sakte hai, isme do ladke hai? (Who is Vikas of the two men? There are two men in the picture.)

P: Nahi mujhe nahi pata, ye toh aapka kaam hai na, aap dekho. (I don’t know. It’s your job to find out. You find out.)

S: Arey magar tweet toh aapne kiya hai. (But you have tweeted this!)

P: Nahi mujhe nahi pata, mai nahi janta. (I don’t know anything.)

So, basically, Umrao cannot vouch for the authenticity of the tweet, which has been retweeted 2,600 times and liked by about 2,000 people. Several Facebook profiles have shared this piece of fake information to slander Kundu. Someone even hacked BJP spokie Shaina NC Twitter account and shared it in an entirely believable chain of events.

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Meanwhile, Kundu told Scroll this evening that the picture he tweeted was “very old” and that those were her friends, not the accused in the case. “ The two men in the photograph are my friends,” she said. “It is sad that they are being branded as perpetrators. Some people are spreading blatant lies,” she added.

All we can say is that we worry for Umrao’s clients.

The author can be contacted on Twitter @shrutimenon10.


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