Hyderabad-based techie Sreepad Nandan tackles misogynistic messages, online bullying and  harassment of women with an action plan!

Nandan also aims to take his role forward to ensure women’s safety becomes part of all election manifestos

Manju Latha Kalanidhi Published :  17th April 2022 10:55 AM   |   Published :   |  17th April 2022 10:55 AM
Image used for representational purposes only

Image used for representational purposes only

On December 1, 2019, Sreepad Nandan was an angry man. The usually laid-back young IT professional who lives and works in Hyderabad saw a lewd meme online mocking the rape and murder of a young veterinary doctor (renamed Disha by the police). Two boys from Nizamabad and Guntur respectively had posted the vulgarity with the #DishaRape hashtag on their Facebook profiles. Nandan spent 18 hours tracking them down and helped the police nab them. 

Twitterati erupted in joy. Nandan had found a purpose to channel his tech-savviness, his network and his professional connections to help women in distress. Today, he spends three hours every day looking for misogynistic messages and taking action. Especially for women suffering from online bullying and harassment.

Now he wants to take his role forward to ensure women’s safety becomes part of all election manifestos. And his Google calendar is filling up with appointments with election commissioners (EC) to discuss the #MissionManifesto.

“If we can somehow get women’s safety as a mandatory inclusion into the election manifestos, half the battle is won,” believes the 27-year-old techie who uses PowerPoint presentations and QR codes to explain his agenda to central and state ECs to persuade political parties to include the crucial point in their manifestos. But will it make a difference?

“Telangana’s decades-old water problems got resolved after Mission Bhageeratha was included in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s 2018 election manifesto. We know the Rs 43,000 crore project built up a super ecosystem of water tanks with lakes to provide safe drinking water to every household. Similarly, Gram Volunteers in Andhra Pradesh were part of the 2019 manifesto. Today, they ensure that government welfare schemes reach rural folk,” he quotes some examples.

Nandan envisages the creation of a safety net for women, led by local MLAs and local parties. Why MLAs? “In India, whether we want to wriggle out of a traffic challan or want to fastrack a case in the court, we ask our friends to connect us to the local MLA. We all know how the MLA card works in India. Why not use the MLA’s clout, network and volunteers for women’s safety?” he asks. 

Nandan also works closely with politicians across the country. 

“Three years ago, I created a software concept called PolitcAlly for politicians to do virtual campaigns that replicate live campaigns. I have already discussed the women’s safety issue with many of them and have got a positive response,” he says. Nandan has helped She Teams (Telangana’s police wing to curb women’s sexual harassment) to resolve over 100 cases. “They reach me via Instagram or WhatsApp. Using screenshots as evidence, I get down to work,” he says. 

When a derogatory comment shows up on a celebrity or social influencer’s timeline, many of his friends tag him. “The next minute, the comment vanishes. In some cases, the culprits even delete their accounts,” he says triumphantly. Nandan’s Womanifesto could certainly get the vote. 

The big idea

The safety network will be a hybrid of human volunteers, AI tech (wearable devices, sensors, GPS) and helplines. The local volunteers will be the first line of defense and they will aid the police in preventing sexual harassment by nabbing the criminals.