Bulandshahr Police Threatens Legal Action Against Journalist Meena Kotwal for Tweet

The police's response to a tweet that highlights the continuing presence of caste discrimination in India has drawn flak from various quarters.

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New Delhi: The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr has drawn flak for a tweet responding to journalist Meena Kotwal, the founder of The Mooknayak. Kotwal is known for highlighting issues faced by oppressed communities, particularly Dalits.

In a recent tweet, Kotwal had talked about how members of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary and police officers had to stand guard at a wedding in the state because a Dalit groom was riding a horse. “For a Dalit to ride a horse, PAC jawans and the police force have to be called. And this is happening with Babasaheb’s [Ambedkar’s] Constitution is in place. Think what would happen in a Manuvidhan Hindu rashtra? Think, think… I repeat, think about this again and again – and also think about what happened to our ancestors when Manu was the law,” Kotwal tweeted in Hindi.

Though Kotwal’s tweet merely pointed out how something that should be seen as a basic right being fulfilled required security to become a reality, the Bulandshahr police responded by threatening to take action against her if she did not delete it.

“Your tweet is dangerous, inflammatory and a threat to social harmony. Please delete it immediately, otherwise legal action will be taken against you,” the police’s official handle tweeted in Hindi.

The police’s threat on a journalist’s tweet pointing out a societal injustice drew flak on social media, with journalists, lawyers and others saying that it was yet another attempt to bully and harass an outspoken journalist.

Despite all the criticism, the Bulandshahr police’s tweet was still up at the time of publication and the police had not responded further.

In February this year, a group of United Nations experts had written to the Union government expressing concerns regarding the death threats received by Kotwal and the failure of the police to take cognisance of the same. Despite Kotwal making a formal complaint, no FIR was filed on the death threats. The government has not replied to the experts’ letter.

Instead, it now appears as though the police is more interested in going after Kotwal herself than those who threatened to kill her.