Who could hate Gandhi? Apparently, 2,904 people do, based on the fan count of a Facebook page that has upset police in the Republic of India. That number seems like a lot of enemies for someone wildly regarded as a heroic role model for peace and perseverance.
Local news outlets are reporting that an Indian Police Service officer in the Lucknow district has formally complained against Facebook and the seven administrators of the hate group. The complaint, called a First Information Report, lists the offense as maligning the image of Mahatma Gandhi online.
Officer Amitabh Thakur wrote in his report that the words used in the “i hate gandhi” (yes, the hatred is all lowercase) Facebook group are too violent and demeaning, as if they were trying to incite riots. Personally, I didn’t read anything that could be mistaken for outright instigation, but of course my cultural background is different from the police officer’s. It would be interesting to hear opinions on this matter from our readers who are based in India and those who’ve emigrated from the country.
There are actually multiple Facebook groups that make fun of, minimize, or hate Gandhi, but they don’t even reach 10,000 fans combined. Moreover, an obvious cornerstone of the social network is that opposing views can co-exist within one site’s billions of pages, profiles, groups, and applications. There are many more groups and pages that love and honor Gandhi than ones expressing hate. Gandhi’s main page, in fact, far surpasses all the hateful pages by hundreds of thousands of fans.
Do you think the “i hate ghandi” page deserves to be shut down, making it an exception to anti-censorship policies?