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Goa Professor Booked For Outraging "Religious Feelings" In A Facebook Post

Shilpa Singh, in her complaint, wrote that she had received "abusive and threatening" messages after “Jha’s [social media] abusive post on October 30”.

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Ria Das
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Shilpa Singh

Shilpa Singh, an assistant professor at a Goa law college, on Monday, was booked for a recent Facebook post that allegedly "hurt" religious sentiments. Rajiv Jha, a resident of Ponda in South Goa, has filed a fresh complaint in the cyber cell of Goa Police alleging that Singh had mocked Hindu religion and its practices by comparing "mangalsutra" to a “chained dog”. She has put the post up on social-networking site Facebook on April 21 this year.

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Jha, in his complaint, stated that the political science teacher at Panaji’s VM Salgaocar College of Law should be booked “for passing derogatory comments on social media mocking Hindu religion, traditions, faith and beliefs,” TOI earlier reported. Now FIRs have been registered against both Jha and Singh. “Shilpa Singh has been booked under IPC Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Rajiv Jha, a resident of Ponda, has been booked under IPC Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 509 (insulting modesty of woman),” SP (north Goa) said.

Singh received "abusive and threatening" messages

Meanwhile, Shilpa Singh has also approached the police and reportedly filed a complaint about receiving "abusive and threatening" messages after “Jha’s abusive post on October 30”. She said she even received "rape threats" for a social media post in 2018.

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On October 9, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP – the students’ wing of the RSS), had complained that Singh promotes “socially hateful thoughts about a particular religion” and had sought her termination. However, the college authorities said that no termination order will be issued against Singh.

Jha told The Indian Express, “She is not my friend on Facebook but we seem to have 20 to 25 mutual friends. After ABVP’s complaint, I saw this April 21 post of her on Facebook and got angry. I first approached Panaji police on October 28 and in a written note asked that she should seek public apology. Since they (police) didn’t react…we again went with a new complaint the next day

Singh says it's a “witch hunt"

While Singh mentioned in her complaint that she being subjected to a “witch hunt,” Jha further claimed, “Since she is a woman I went to the police station. She has filed a counter-compliant of abuse and threat to life. I could have gone directly to the college and sought action. (But) I have not.”

Shilpa Singh also said that she feels “threatened and alarmed at this insistence of intimidation against my person through this representation, which seems barely any different from a veiled threat since it demands my termination from my job and thus an assault on my right to livelihood on the basis of an illegally obtained recording.”

Hours before the FIR was lodged, Singh had apologised on Facebook, writing that she wishes to "express my regret to my fellow women if any of my facebook posts have caused them hurt and offended them…. "

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She further wrote, "Since my childhood, I have been curious on questions why we have exclusive marital status symbols for women and not for the men in various cultures practices. It is depressing to see that a false opinion has been created about myself by my detractors – that I am an ‘anti-religion’ or a run-of-the-mill ‘god-hating atheist’. This is far from the truth… I see myself as an intellectual and for me, my criticism of a set of practices and dogma has little to do with my disdain or irreverence for religion or religious believers but more to do with the inherent symbolism they represent in political and civil society of our country historically.”

Feature Image Credit: Indian Express

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