With a site named Indian Online Journalism and there is no rant about the blocking of the 17 websites or inaccessibility of three popular domains. Yes, strange indeed.

There is excellent activism going on already. There is no need for duplicating the effort here save to extend a hand of solidarity.

The casual manner in which three popular domains have been taken off Indian cyberspace is appalling.

Some websites and online activists have been turning this democratic medium into a hellhole. They have used this democratic space to convey hatred and incite violence. Some of the names of the websites that the government wanted blocked are instructive.

I could access exposingleft from work. The content did not seem to have anything that would compromise “national security”. Of course, the language is vituperative but the Left is no stranger to abusive language, nor, for that matter, are editors unused to such language directed at them, I’m sure. There is no denying that many websites do train their efforts at inciting violence against Muslims, which is simply not acceptable.

Indians online would surely have come across well-heeled and self-appointed historians who use the democratic spirit of the Internet to attack “pseudo-secularists”. Most often the attacks on intellectuals have taken the form of undemocratic harangue.

If these self-appointed saviours of India’s hoary and glorious heritage have to be shown their place this was surely not the way. The government has done terrible injustice to those who believe in informed and academic debate and can obviously take these “patriotic NRIs”.

It is a shame. There is the need to haul up those who indulged in this stupidity. But clearly we should call for a transparent set of guidelines to ensure that whenever a need does arise to ban a website it is not done in such an arrogant and ham-handed manner. But there is no denying that anti-democratic forces have reigned in on the Net only to ensure that reasoned debates can continue.

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