Independent journalist Neha Dixit took to Twitter on Wednesday to say she has been facing harassment and stalking since September last year, including a recent instance of somebody trying to break into her house. She has been consistently threatened with rape, acid attacks and death, and both she and her partner have been stalked.
She has filed a police complaint and it is under investigation.
At around 9 pm on January 21, Neha said, someone tried to open the outer grill door of her house. “I heard the movement of the key in the interlock for two-three minutes. When it continued I thought my husband Nakul had come home and was trying to open the door. I called for him three-four times. When I received no answer, I got up from my bed and started walking towards the entrance saying, ‘Kaun hai? Kaun hai?’ As I approached the main door, the person on the other side left. By the time I opened both the doors, the person was gone. This entire incident took about seven minutes.”
It was September when she received the first threatening call, she said. “I was in the market downstairs buying vegetables. The caller said, ‘Sabzi lay rahi hai na tu. Bada reporter banti hai. Jaan jayegi teri.’ I hung up.”
Roughly translated, the caller had said, “You are buying vegetables, right? You think you are a big shot reporter? You will die.”
Ten days later she got another call. “Balcony mein khadi hai na. Tera pati bahar gaya hai na. Tum dono maroge,” the caller said this time, meaning, “You’re standing on the balcony, right, and your husband has gone out? You’ll both die.”
Another call came when she was at the gym. “Reporter gym aayi hai car mein. Abhi yahin goli se uda dunga tujhe,” the caller threatened. “The reporter has come to the gym in her car, huh? I’ll shoot you right now.”
Neha suspects that the threatening calls and the attempted break-in are related. But her intention behind going to the police, she maintains, is to shift the focus on the growing physical threats and attacks on journalists and spur conversation about it.
“I’m a privileged person. I live in Delhi and write in English. But there are lots of journalists who work in remote areas who face threats from local intelligence and police groups who enjoy impunity and there is no conversation about them,” she said.
Referring to growing violence suffered by journalists, artists, filmmakers, activists, and academics for doing their work, she added, “It is imperative that we start paying attention to violence beyond the online world.”