The police on Thursday arrested a 24-year-old man from Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city for allegedly sending death and rape threats to journalist Rana Ayyub on social media, the Hindustan Times reported.
An unidentified police officer said that Siddharth Shrivastav, a salesman in a garment shop, had threatened to kill Ayyub if she continued her work as a journalist. “He also used vulgar and obscene language against her,” the officer said.
On February 1, the first information report was registered by the Mumbai police after Ayyub had complained of having received threats online.
Four Twitter and two Instagram users were booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to sexual harassment, death threats, defamation and outraging the modesty of women.
They were also booked under the Information Technology Act for identity theft and publishing or transmitting obscene material.
On Thursday, the police said that Shrivastav used a false name to operate an Instagram account, the Hindustan Times reported. They produced the accused person before a metropolitan magistrate in Bandra. He was remanded in judicial custody and will be jailed after an RT-PCR test for Covid-19.
Following Shrivastav’s arrest, Ayyub said she was impressed with the “alacrity of Mumbai Police and Mumbai Police Commissioner”. The journalist also said that she was informed that other perpetrators and instigators “will also be arrested shortly”.
“I would take this moment to urge other women to come forward and fight this harassment and intimidation,” Ayyub said. “We are equally responsible for creating a safe space for women.”
Ayyub has been outspoken in her criticism of the Indian government.
On January 25, Ayyub had posted a screenshot of her name trending on Twitter and said that most of the nearly 26,000 tweets, were abusive and directed rape and death threats at her. Ayyub said most of the abuse was by right-wing Indian users and Saudi nationalists for her tweets criticising the air strike on Yemen.
The next day, a Twitter user claiming to be an Indian news organisation posted a link to a YouTube video and claimed that Saudi Arabia had “banned Rana Ayyub”. Ayyub later said the portal used a photoshopped tweet of her to claim that she hates India and all Indians. Responding to her, the portal claimed it had presented authentic news and facts.