Delhi's Grisly Murder Case Inspires Dehumanising Memes On The Internet
In one popular Facebook group, memes making references to murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia gained the most traction - with mostly 'laughing' reactions.
While the grisly murder of Shraddha Walkar has left the country shocked, young internet users from India and Pakistan have been inspired by the crime to create dehumanising memes, mostly mocking the victim.
In May 2022, Aaftab Poonawala, Walkar's boyfriend and live-in partner, allegedly strangled her to death, and reportedly chopped her body into 35 pieces and bought a 300 litre fridge to store them, as he disposed the parts bit-by-bit in the forest areas of Delhi.
The gruesome details of the crime have now been taken up as hot topics for memes on Facebook and Reddit, with people frequently mocking the victim. Misogynistic and Islamophobic tropes were rampant in the highly abusive posts discussing the murder.
In one such popular Facebook group called "Aaftab Poonahwalla Fridge Post", memes making references to murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia gained considerable traction - with mostly 'laughing' reactions.
Disclaimer: The following contains disturbing and vulgar content.
A Reddit forum called 'IndianDankMemes', a page frequented by Indians, often posting misogynistic and Islamophobic content, was filled with posts ridiculing the victim and poking fun at Poonawala.
One of the posts contained a short video showing a woman and her mother praising a new fridge. At one point the girl states that the fridge is big enough to fit her inside during summer, after which the mother says she is small enough to sit down inside. The caption of the video, containing an Islamophobic slur, states that the video shows an 'average Hindu girl' married into a Muslim family.
Yet another video, showing the butchering of a fish, was shared with the text, "Aaftab Shraddha".
"Fridge Posting" Facebook Page
We also stumbled across a Facebook page called "Aftab Poonawalla Fridge Posting" that contained similar memes ridiculing the victim and the perpetrator using reported details of the crime.
The page, created two days ago by a few Pakistani users, now had over 800 members from Pakistan and India. Users posting from both these countries joined in to posts memes and mock the victim.
One user posted a still from an advertisement by jewelry company Tanishq, showing a Hindu-Muslim interfaith wedding, which was later pulled by the company after facing strong backlash from the right-wing community with allegations of promoting "Love Jihad".
The still showed the Hindu bride being told by her Muslim mother-in-law, "Don't worry, the new fridge is only for keeping food items."
The post had received over 17 reactions - 16 were laughing reactions, while one user reacted 'sadly'.
Another highly disturbing post was a screenshot of a Facebook user asking where Walkar's private parts were thrown, as that would be the last option to 'break his virginity'. The necrophilia and rape references to mock the victim garnered the post over 97 reactions - 93 of them were 'laughing' reactions. This was one of the most popular posts in the group, going by the number of reactions.
Yet another popular post in the group made references to cannibalism while ridiculing the victim. It showed an image of Poonawala eating a sandwich, with the caption, "Sharadha Beef Burger".
The post, shared by a Pakistani user, drew 98 reactions from Indian and Pakistani users both - 81 of them were laughing reactions.
The most popular comment (going by number of reactions) to the post was by an Indian user saying, "Same as Bilkis b@no Paneer pakoda," along with some laughing emojis, making reference to the rape victim of 2002 Gujarat riots, whose rapists were free in October following a remission of sentencing by the Gujarat government.
Users also took photos from Poonawala's Facebook accounts to make memes about the murder.
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