Kolam protestor’s Pak links: Gayatri Khandhadai hits back at commissioner; says his aim was intimidation

Gayatri clarified that she was just a researcher who studied persecution of minorities in South Asian countries and that her work, in fact, supports the basis of CAA
Gayatri Khandhadai said that the commissioner is misinformed (Pic: Google/TNIE)
Gayatri Khandhadai said that the commissioner is misinformed (Pic: Google/TNIE)

Giving a strong reply to Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan’s claims that she has ‘Pakistan links’, lawyer-activist Gayatri Khandhadai, who was one of the six women detained at the Kolam protest at Besant Nagar last week,  accused him of maligning her image and compromising her security. “I am a researcher. And the research study that I did for multiple organisations including Bytes For All focused on the persecution of minorities in South Asia - how Hindu houses have been burnt, how the LGBT community and women are targeted in Pakistan, how atheists have been killed in Bangladesh and Maldives, etc.  How does this amount to having links with Pakistan?” she asked at a press conference held in Madurai.

Gayatri rued that the police had conveniently removed all relevant information about her work. “I do not only work for Bytes For All, but I also work for many international research organisations; why hasn’t that been mentioned? Why was that part conveniently avoided? My FB profile is public. I have nothing to hide,” she said, adding that the malicious claims put forward by the commissioner have put her in grave danger. “By putting out my social media credentials on the public domain, what they are basically trying to do is intimidate me. I hold him (AK Viswanathan) personally responsible for my safety and security going forward. He better figure out how to keep me alive as ‘nationalist’ goons are hounding me on social media. I have been receiving abusive calls and people are calling me a ‘Pak agent’ and an anti-national,” she claimed.

Gayatri said that her research, ironically, is supportive of the concept of CAA and would have in fact benefited the BJP as it does have legit findings on the persecution of minorities in Pakistan. “If anything, the BJP should be calling me and thanking me – this is a report they could have cited in the parliament,” she asserted.

She pointed out the fact that the commissioner’s claims were not followed by any action on the part of the Tamil Nadu police. “If they were going to arrest me, why would they make the rookie mistake of announcing it to the world first? Who does that? Their clear aim was to send a strong message to me and unleash a mob,” she said.

Despite receiving multiple threats and abuses, Gayatri plans to go ahead with her fight against injustice because ‘it is simply ridiculous’. “I am exploring my legal options here. I do not know if I will file for defamation yet. But what I want most is for AK Viswanathan to realise his folly. He has let down not only me but women in general,” she shared.

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