After the shocking suicide of well-known activist and writer Khurshid Anwar in Delhi, the knives are out for political commentator Madhu Kishwar who had led a relentless campaign against him following allegations of rape by a 23-year-old Manipuri girl. Kishwar played a key role in convincing the reluctant victim to video record her statement and seen to be in the forefront of the “villification campaign” on social media that presumably drove Khurshid, a former JNU scholar, to jump to his death on December 18.
A memorial service for Khurshid was held at JNU, and though academic circles in Delhi are still recovering, some knives are already out for Kishwar and her aggressive trial by media. While they both ran NGOs and moved around in the same circles in the capital, Khurshid and Kishwar were never known to be too fond of each other — which was also reflected in the opposing political ideologies they espoused in the columns they wrote for Jansatta. Now Om Thanvi, the veteran editor of the respected vernacular newspaper and a close friend of Khurshid, has taken the battle to Kishwar and accused her of double standards and vigilantism. Ironically, the same media platforms she used against Khurshid are being used to question her own actions and motives when the charge against Khurshid had not been proved.
Not long back, Kishwar had bribed the Delhi police to save her own brother from jail when a man filed a case of sodomy against him. We hear the man, who was earlier employed with the family, had told the police that he’d been lured to a public park after dark and raped. What makes the matter all the more damning for Kishwar is that she herself admitted in her column to paying up Rs 10,000 to “settle the matter” while making out a case against the misuse of section 377 and motivated accusations of sexual assault.
Kishwar is now crying foul and alleging “personal vengeance” by Thanvi, besides claiming a political conspiracy by Leftists and other elements which began “ever since I started writing about Gujarat and Modi.” On the other hand hand, the victim’s family has said that Kishwar’s strident stand against Khurshid could be influenced by the fact that he was a Modi-baiter and working for the welfare of Gujarat riots victims. We wonder if Narendra Modi, who held a massive rally in Mumbai yesterday, is aware of his “role” in this particular battle.