“It was the second time I had a panic attack in my life. It felt like I was losing something important. I had heard so many wrong things about me and Ahmed. They called me a wh*re and threatened to kill him. I got scared because I thought Ahmed would die because of me. I don’t remember the next 12 hours following the panic attack. My sister tells me that I was acting like a child. I was taken to the hospital and given two bottles of saline. The doctors had to restrain my hands and legs to control me.

Later on, when I walked on the streets, I felt everyone’s eyes were on me. After a few days, I stopped going out. These people still keep an eye on me, and follow me wherever I go. Tell me, where did I go wrong? Is loving somebody wrong? Should I check his bio-data and then fall in love with him?” 

Sunita and Ahmed (names changed on request) had been close friends for five years before they got into a relationship. The two would often visit each others’ homes and spend time together. None of their families ever objected to the relationship. Like many other young couples, they posted their pictures on their Instagram accounts, and both of them had public profiles on the photo-sharing app. One fine morning, it all changed.

One day in late May 2023, Sunita received an Instagram message from a stranger, informing her that screenshots of her Instagram account and her pictures with Ahmed were being circulated on social media. Within an hour, her inbox was flooded with abusive messages and threats. The messages questioned her relationship with a Muslim man and wished her dead. Initially, she chose to ignore them, but to her horror, strangers began harassing and threatening her friends and followers online. They even tried to falsely implicate her male Hindu friends, and claimed they were Muslims trying to ‘trap Hindu girls’ in a planned conspiracy. The bullies declared that Sunita would soon be found in a suitcase or a fridge.

“They started commenting on my posts. When I blocked comments, they started sending me messages. When I blocked message requests, they started circulating screenshots of my Instagram posts”, she told Alt News.

Soon, Sunita’s online nightmare spilled into the real world. The news of Sunita’s interfaith with a Muslim man reached local Right-Wing activists. According to her, a few days later days, around 25 Right Wing activists reached her house and hurled abuses at her from outside. Sunita’s father, who was also threatened by the workers, pleaded with Sunita to break up with Ahmed for his sake.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.