Some memers say a line needs to be drawn
The horrific Shraddha Walker murder case has been reduced to a source of entertainment.
Shraddha Walker, a 28-year old, was allegedly murdered by her live-in partner, Aaftab Poonawala.
According to an article published by The Quint, Poonawala strangled her and chopped her body into 35 pieces. He bought a new fridge to store the pieces. This has led to a meme, called the “fridge meme”
Apart from that, a public group on Facebook by the name “Aaftab Poonawala Fridge Posting” has become a medium to share memes on the crime. The group has more than 500 followers that include Indians and Pakistanis.
Aditi Sharma, a 20-year-old memer,informed The Observer: “I have come across memes on the Shraddha murder case.They are all over the Internet. When I saw a meme, I was surprised. It is insensitive to make a meme on such a serious issue. There is a criminal out there who has committed a heinous crime and people are making a joke of it.”
She added: “Being a memer myself, I know the repercussions of circulating such memes. It is horrible. People get influenced by memes and news they see on social media.Somewhere down the line, this creates more problems. There are enough issues that can be circulated as memes.Why should one pull such an indecent act?”
Neelesh Talreja, who runs a meme page, said: “Nowadays people have become insensitive.In order to get famous, they will go to any extent.There are many topics which can be addressed.It is shameful that people are choosing such issues to make memes. Whenever I post something, I always make sure that it does not have any negative impact. Every memer should question their content before posting it.”
Sanjay Singh, a psychologist and professor of psychology at the Dayalbagh Institute, Agra, explained the effect of such memes on society: “The case in itself is quite shocking and is an eye-opener for parents who do not stay connected with their children.Even I have encountered some of these memes and realized that they have divided people into fractions. Some people are supporting Aaftab (mentioning the incident where Vikas who claimed to be Rashid posted a video in support of Aaftab), while some are blaming it on liberals took a soft stand stating it to be a case of violence.”
Adesh, an advocate, said: “There is a fine line between freedom of expression and sentiments being hurt. People make fun of literally everything, but where you draw the line is a question. One must think about the sentiments that are being hurt, and if there is a ground to protect them. If one makes such insensitive memes should not be posted then where do you stop, what and where is the line?”
He would like to stress on the purpose of the meme: Was it to incite tension or was it just to humour people?
The Information Technology Act can be used against people who outrage the modesty of a woman through insensitive memes, he said. A boy who made a meme on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was charged under the IT Act.
Aaftab, a Mumbai-based chef, met the victim on a dating app. He claimed he was inspired by the American series Dexter.