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Reporter's diary: 15 years to sentence an internet troll

Political wrestling on social media involves memes, video reels on Instagram, tweets, Facebook posts, and so on and so forth.

CHENNAI: A prerequisite for being a modern-day politician is being thick-skinned to internet trolls. Probably, irate over the mostly abusive and at times witty remarks, the trolls were appropriated by political parties by calling them the IT wing.

Political wrestling on social media involves memes, video reels on Instagram, tweets, Facebook posts, and so on and so forth.

This is the story of a member of the early batches of internet troll. Hate still had to be expressed only through the written word and under the blanket of anonymity. His assumed name was Robert Swinston (Googled! Nobody noteworthy) and he sent the hate messages from his Yahoo mail.

Swinston had the gall to send unprintable abusive mail and a bomb threat to the official ID of the Chief Minister’s cell, targeting former CM M Karunanidhi and his family. The government machinery went into overdrive.

Police teams traced the origin of the mail – an internet cafe in Navi Mumbai and arrested Swinston. He spent about a month in jail then. Fifteen years later, a city court found our dear old Swinston guilty.

He is 52 years old now. Considering his old age, he was let off with minimal jail time and a fine of Rs 30,000.

The pace at which the Indian judiciary functions is already written about. Maybe, it’s time for the memes.

In case you were wondering, Swinston’s original name is S Subramaniyan.

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