Police arrested a 28-year-old woman in Tuticorin on Monday for raising slogans against the BJP government. The woman, Lois Sofia, a research scholar in Canada, was later granted bail. The incident occurred when she ran into the party’s state unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan on board a flight from Chennai to Thoothukudi and said, “down with Modi – BJP – RSS fascist government”.
Soundararajan filed a complaint with the airport police.
A video recorded at the airport shows the BJP leader asking angrily: “How can she shout like that? This is not a public forum. She doesn’t appear like an ordinary passenger. I felt my life was under threat,” she said, adding, “No innocent girl will use the word fascist”.
An FIR has been filed against her under Indian Penal Code sections 290 (Punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), 505 (Statements Conducing to Public Mischief) as well as Section 75(1) of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act, 1888.
Sofia had been sent to 15-day judicial custody. She has, however, been given bail now after the father assured the court that she won’t cause such problems again.
The woman’s arrest caused outrage among people who took to social media to express their disappointment for what the leader did.
Have students no right to air their views? Would we call our country democratic if it fails to safeguard our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression? SheThePeople.Tv spoke to some students to know their views on the reasons that led to her arrest.
“Cautious exercising of the right to freely express speech should be a given in any democracy. Being intolerant to even angry remarks by normal citizens of the country (who have no political agendas or affiliations especially) will create a very toxic and frustrating environment,” said Juhi Garg, Co-founder, ED Times.
Anchal Goswami, pursuing her Masters in Gender Studies, said arresting Sofia was unnecessary. “We all have the right to voice our opinions. How can we arrest someone for speaking their mind? What kind of democracy do we live in?”
Nimisha From Lady Shri Ram College said: “The country is currently marked by a phase of unjust arrests against anyone who dares to speak up against the government. The use of the term ‘fascist’ by the student must be seen and understood in that context. The student might have been agitated by the ruthless arrests that have been taking place against factions of criticism and dissent. Her arrest further puts the government’s position in question – whether it wishes to project itself as a tolerant authority or that of a government incapable of handling critics rationally. In this light, her arrest is absolutely saddening, and relevant inquiry must take place to analyse the extent to which her words were questionable.”
Picture Credit: Deccan Herald
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