Chennai-based journalist complains of online harassment after reporting on sand mining in Tamil Nadu

Sandhya Ravishankar, independent journalist from Chennai, have been tracking the issue illegal beach sand mining in Tamil Nadu for four years now. In a letter to the Press Council of India (Firstpost has a copy of the letter), Ravishankar alleged she has been harassed by the supporters of S Vaikundarajan, one of the largest beach sand miner in the country. There has been targeted attack against Ravishankar on blogs and on social media.

Sandhya Ravishankar. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Sandhya Ravishankar

Sandhya Ravishankar. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Sandhya Ravishankar

In the letter she states:

"I have been harassed online with trolls on social media using foul language against me, calling me a “corrupt” journalist, a “fake” journalist etc. My mobile number was published on Twitter and Facebook by the anonymous trolls supporting Mr S Vaikundarajan, the largest beach sand miner in the country (refer to Part 03 for details about him) – my mobile number was published with a note in Tamil saying that I was “anti-Jallikattu” and asking people “not to call her”. Subsequently, I received a flood of abusive and threatening calls – unknown people threatening to put chilli powder inside my private parts, threatening to beat me up and abusing me in the filthiest manner possible."

Ravishankar first broke a story on this issue in 2013 when she was working with a television channel. Ever since she has been tracking the story and recently she published a four-part series in The Wire.

Ravishankar told Firstpost, that Vaikundarajan’s team has sent a legal notice to her stating that they will be filing a criminal defamation case against here. She was also accused of taking bribes and in 2016, Ravishankar and her husband also got a legal summon from the Tirunelveli court.

She further states in her letter:

"In that response to the magazine, to which I have absolutely no connection, the author has alluded to me as a “pimp”, has stated falsely that I am “bargaining with Vaikundarajan for Rs 200 crores” in collusion with a retired IPS officer and that Vaikundarajan has hired 5 detective agencies to follow me and has “incriminating video evidence” of me sitting at a coffee shop and smoking with the aforesaid retired IPS officer to “collude and plot” against Vaikundarajan."

Ravishankar says Tamil publications like Vikatan, The Hindu (Tamil) have also been at the receiving end of the miner. The cyber crime cell of the Chennai police is investigating the threats that she has been receiving.

Updated Date: Mar 16, 2017 15:45 PM

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