Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Derogatory Article on Savitribai Phule: No Arrests So Far

Sabrang India |
While the opposition staged a walkout in the state assembly, in objection to no action taken against IndicTales for creating derogatory content against Savitribai Phule.
Image: ETV Bharat

Image: ETV Bharat

An article titled ‘Unrecognised Hindu Female Teachers Preceding Savitribai Phule‘ published by Indic Tales has been creating an uproar in Mumbai. The article suggested that Savitribai Phule’s school received “sponsorship from British missionaries”, raising aspersions on her character. Additionally, the article also alleged that Indian women were exploited by the British to fulfil the sexual needs of their soldiers in military cantonments, referred to as “surgical rape.”

Similarly, Hindu Post, in an article dated January 5 questioned whether Savitribai Phule was indeed the first female teacher in India! The article attributed this credit to Hotee Vidyalankar, a Bengali Hindu widow (of privileged caste origin) who, according to the publication, was a scholar proficient in Sanskrit poetry, law, mathematics, and Ayurveda. The article further alleged that Savitribai Phule had written poems glorifying British colonial rule and Christianity.

The issue drew widespread outrage after senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), supported by various social outfits, staged protests, urging the government to take immediate action against the websites and their authors.

On July 27, four days ago, there was once again an uproar due to the delay in action being taken against the publishers. Thus in response to mounting opposition pressure, Maharashtra Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis pledged that those responsible for disseminating allegedly derogatory content against the renowned 19th-century educationalist Savitribai Phule would face the consequences of their actions. “Police are in touch with Twitter India to identify persons behind a handle that posted derogatory remarks against Savitribai Phule,” said the Home Minister.

The matter was raised by Jitendra Awhad, an MLA from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and leader of the Sharad Pawar faction, who questioned the delay in investigating two controversial websites – Indic Tales and Hindu Post.

Responding to Jitendra Awhad’s concerns, Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis, disclosed that the state police were actively coordinating with Twitter India to identify the people operating the handle that had posted objectionable remarks about Savitribai Phule.

Fadnavis confirmed that cases had already been filed against the Twitter handle in question, @bharadwajspeaks, as well as the digital platforms Indic Tales and Hindu Post. These platforms allegedly published defamatory posts against the revered figure. The police are currently awaiting a response from Twitter India and plan to take appropriate action once the identities of those behind the handle are established, the State Home Minister assured.

Despite Mr. Fadnavis’ statement the opposition was unsatisfied with the government’s response, and this led to the Opposition to stage a walkout in the Maharashtra legislative assembly, Balasaheb Thorat expressed strong disapproval of the government’s perceived inaction and drew a comparison to a recent incident involving Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Thorat pointed out that swift action was taken against Rahul Gandhi, who faced a two-year jail sentence and disqualification as a Member of Parliament over his “Modi surname” remark. In contrast, the investigation into the websites allegedly defaming Savitribai Phule seemed to be dragging on with no resolution in sight.

Earlier this year itself, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had ordered senior authorities to initiate a thorough investigation into the contents of Indic Tales and take decisive action if the allegations were found to be true.

The government’s assurance to take action against those responsible for defaming Savitribai Phule reflects its commitment to uphold the legacy of the esteemed social reformer. As the police continue their investigations in collaboration with Twitter India, the spotlight remains on the importance of protecting historical figures’ reputations and preserving the integrity of their contributions to society.

On the website of Indic Tales, there is a disclaimer stating that they have withdrawn their article on Savitribai Phule. “IndicTales, a platform dedicated to fostering academic discourse and promoting public dialogue, hereby announces the withdrawal of an article re-published on its website on 4 January 2023, authored by the Twitter Handle – @BharadwajSpeaks.”



The Azad Maidan police, meanwhile, has registered an FIR on June 1 against websites IndicTales, HinduPost, and Twitter account BharadwajSpeaks for publishing and spreading false content against social reformer Savitribai Phule. The FIR was filed under sections 505 and 505(II) of the Indian Penal Code after NCP leaders protested against the articles and tweets, citing hurt sentiments and enmity incited between communities.

Senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal condemned the portals’ portrayal of Savitribai Phule and demanded action against them. Despite the FIR and wide outrage, no arrests have been made so far despite the fact that it seems these online portals are repeat offenders. CJP has previously busted fake news, in one of their Hate-Buster segments, which featured fake news that Hindu Post was spreading as well.

Courtesy: sabrang India

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram