Kerala Police have arrested a man from Wayanad for allegedly posting derogatory comments about 19-year-old Hanan Hamid, who was trolled online for selling fish in her college uniform after classes. She has an alcoholic father, an ailing mother and a younger brother. 

Trolls hounded Kerala girl who is a third-year chemistry student of Al Azar college in Kerala’s Idukki. She was ‘cyber lynched’ for doing a job to make a living. The young girl travels to Thammanam to sell fish on her bicycle every day. This multi-tasking girl is not limited to selling fish but does other jobs too like playing small roles in films and working with an event management firm to survive and pay her college fees. The spirited girl also takes tuitions. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday came out in Hanan’s support. He has ordered a probe and directed the police to take action against the online abusers.

She was bullied after a Malayalam newspaper, Mathrubhumi, carried out her life story on Wednesday. A rumour was spread that her story was manufactured as part of a publicity stunt for an upcoming film in which she will play a small role. Insensitive questions were asked. How is a poor girl wearing such good clothes and a gold ring? As a Muslim girl, why isn’t she wearing a hijab? If she’s facing hardships, how does she look rich and happy posing with celebrities? 

However, Hanan's college principal, classmates and neighbours came out in support of her and said the story published in Mathrubhumi was not fake. The fake news started doing rounds on social media when director Arun Gopi offered a role to Hanan. Gopi clarified the matter on his Facebook page and said, “I read a news article about her. Someone asked me if I would give Hanan a chance in my movie. I said yes and one of the journalists got in touch with me and gave Hanan’s number.” We did not stage anything as the shooting hasn’t even started yet. 

Trolls called her a ‘liar’ and her story ‘fake’. Also, accused her of fabricating a story to fool people of the state. Hanan appealed with folded hands to leave her alone. She said, “I do not want any help. Kindly leave me alone and allow me to do any kind of menial jobs to earn my daily bread.”

Pinarayi Vijayan said, “It is a feeling of great pride to study by standing on your own legs. The happiness one gets by fulfilling the costs of education by working is immense. People who have lived through such circumstances would understand that. Hanan is not just working to support herself but also her family. I feel proud when I understand her circumstances. Hanan, you must walk ahead with courage. Do not lose the self-confidence you used to face difficult situations. I am with you. Kerala must support her.”

The Kerala Women’s Commission had also registered a Suo Motu case against cyberbullies. Kochi police had filed a first information report on Friday against a man for harassing Hanan.