Throwing blank ink on people traces us back to our history where 'muh kaala karna' was the biggest insult, quite literally. And now in the past few months, we have seen incidents of ink being thrown on political leaders with an alarming frequency, clearly becoming the most dramatic choice of weapon to express dissent.
It seems that it has been a rising trend.
The most recent attack was on AAP MLA, Somnath Bharti in UP's Rae Bareli where he had gone to inspect government schools. A youth threw ink at him and he was later nabbed by the police. In the meantime, shortly after the incident, Bharti was arrested in connection with an FIR lodged against him for making derogatory remarks on the UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
Other instances include a man claiming to be a supporter of Anna Hazare and the BJP had thrown black ink at Arvind Kejriwal during a press conference. Nachiketa, who claimed to be BJP general secretary of the Ahmednagar unit in Maharashtra, entered the venue and threw a can of ink on him, Shouting 'Arvind Kejriwal Murdabad.’ Some drops of the paint fell on Kejriwal's face.
Back in 2014, Indian billionaire Subrata Roy, owner of the financial-services group Sahara India Pariwar, had black ink thrown on his face by an assailant as he entered the Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi. The attacker then removed his shirt and began yelling that "he (Roy) is a thief and has stolen money from the poor" before being escorted away from the scene by police.
A man, identified as Kamran Siddiqui, threw black ink on his face at a press conference he was addressing on his plans to campaign against black money in the coming Assembly elections. Seated along with Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy at the Constitution Club in the heart of the capital, Ramdev's right eye was blackened with ink. Siddiqui, a resident of Delhi, was said to be running an NGO 'Real Cause' which is a petitioner in the Batla House encounter case.
People indulge in ink attacks because they are easy to get away with. The attacker can be charged with Section 503 (threatening to injure or harm someone's reputation) and Section 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code. Both these are bailable offences, that are punishable up to 2 years in prison or a fine, or both.
People who partake in this use the black-coloured ink, because it is an extremely strong, bold, powerful and intimidating colour that exudes authority and dominance. It's not the sole act of being disgraceful but raging dominance over someone who thinks is powerful like a business tycoon or a political leader. It's also an insult in the form of expressing zero respect and disgrace.
Most of these incidents have occurred amid press conferences or in court premises. On the thrower's side, let us hope good sense prevails over them and they put the link to its original use and write in protest rather than indulge in violent practices.