Three Muslim women from the southern Indian state of Kerala have come under fire after a video showing them dancing in the middle of the street went viral on social media.
Shared via Facebook on 1 December, the clip showed the hijab-clad women grooving to popular tunes as part of a flash mob. However, the video received much flak, with people accusing the young women of "insulting Islam".
The performance that drew public ire featured students of a dental college in the Malappuram city of Kerala, who had taken part in an event to raise awareness on the occasion of World AIDS Day.
Apart from the flash mob, there were street plays and rallies too that were aimed at educating the public, deputy district medical officer of Malappuram Dr Muhammed Ali told the Times of India.
Since being posted online, the video was shared multiple times — even after the original post was removed — in the process inciting hateful comments and remarks from many quarters.
Those who took offence went on to call out the girls for apparently "disgracing" their religion. Many branded the women "shameless" for openly dancing on the streets.
The comments — mostly in the local language Malayalam — spewed venom on the women and their families.
"Guess there's not enough space in these girls' home to tie them down, and hence they have been left free," one comment read, while another went as far as to label them a "curse to the religion".
"How will you undo the dishonour you've brought upon your parents?" someone commented, while another chimed in, "This is 'Blasphemy' especially in North Kerala..."
However, saner voices were also heard, with many questioning the rationale of the hate-inciting trolls.
"How the patriarch fringe groups are abusing them... my question... is there no constitutional rights for a girl if she wants to sing or dance?" a Twitter user asked. While another went all sarcastic, writing, "All covering their head, welcome to 21st century Kerala not far from becoming Syria."