In India, the largest democracy on Earth, 21-year old Shaheen Dhada was arrested for posting a status update on Facebook questioning the complete shutdown of cities for Bal Thackeray’s (rightwing leader notorious for inciting religious hatred and violence) funeral on Sunday, 18th November. Her friend Renu Srinivas was also arrested for “liking” the update which reportedly read: “People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a ‘bandh’ [shutdown] for that.“
The girls were arrested under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for “hurting the religious sentiments of others” and section 66 (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, after the complaint was made by a local Sena leader in Palghar police station, reported NDTV.
66A of the Indian IT act deals with communication made via computer or other devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have a “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience”. This draconian law had been severely criticized for being authoritarian and stifling freedom of expression.
Dhada quickly removed the comment and apologized for it but that didn’t stop this hostility. Some 3,000 party activists of extreme right- Read the rest of this entry