Barely has the news of the arrest of two girls from Palghar for a Facebook post subsided a little, when that of another arrest, this time, of a 19-year old boy from the same area, has broken out. Fearing arrests for any of their activities on Facebook, residents have turned to other safer and barren avenues like Orkut and Google+ respectively.
“Aah! Feels a lot safer now. I created an anti-Bal Thackeray community on Orkut, criticized him to my heart’s content over there. I even wrote my residential address, phone number, email ID and all other contact details over there. But till now, I have been very safe and I am confident that I will be,” said Ramprasad Gokhale, a 22-year old Palghar resident. The desolate social network has also delighted Ramprasad’s friend, Krishna Joshi, who said, “Hehe! I became this guy’s fan, I wrote him 2 testimonials which completely insult Raj Thackeray and MNS. I’ve also replied to his community thread and left a couple of scraps on his scrapbook in a similar fashion. We’ve even turned profile visitors on. There has been no visitor at all. Feels so great, yaar!”
Another teenage girl, Priya Sharma, exclaimed “Yaar! I love this! Orkut is the only social network which allows complete freedom of speech! My ‘About me’ has a description fully praising Biharis. So is my personal section, with ‘Bihari’ for ‘Ideal Match’, ‘Orange’ for eye color and hair color. My ‘My Idea of a Perfect First Date’ also says ‘With a BIHARI On VALENTINE’S DAY in BOMBAY!’ My video list is full of anti-Sena videos. Yet, I haven’t received any ‘Do you wanna make fraandship with me’ requests till date! Not even one!”
Priya’s friend Gargi is similarly hooked to Google+. “Orkut is not the only safe one! My profile on Google+ is completely anti-right wing. I even invited some Shiv Sena chaps to a G+ hangout! But I haven’t received any response! This is the beginning of the end for Facebook and Twitter! Google FTW!”
While the sentiment that Google+ and Orkut are far safer avenues in the increasingly dangerous Indian social media scenario is shared by several internet users, this hasn’t been incentive enough for many to give up Facebook and Twitter. Most people are willing to risk jail over the sheer solitude or lameness offered by Google+ and Orkut respectively. “Look, Raj Thackeray doesn’t care about abuse as long as it is in Marathi. If we keep this sentiment in mind while using Facebook and Twitter we should be fine,” said Ganesh Ghatate, another Palghar resident.