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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.
दलित के घोड़ी चढ़ने के लिए PAC जवान और पुलिस फोर्स बुलानी पड़ रही है। यह तब हो रहा है जब देश में बाबासाहेब का संविधान लागू है।
सोचो हिंदू राष्ट्र (मनुविधान) में तुम्हारी स्थिति क्या होगी? सोचो, सोचो…
I repeat बार बार सोचो, यह भी सोचो कि मनु युग में पुरखों के साथ क्या हुआ था? https://t.co/tpEQAMrpTN
— Meena Kotwal (मीना कोटवाल) (@KotwalMeena) April 24, 2022
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.
आपका यह ट्वीट सामाजिक सद्भाव के लिए खतरनाक, भड़काऊ तथा अत्यन्त आपत्तिजनक है। कृपया इसे तत्काल डिलीट करें अन्यथा आपके विरूद्ध अभियोग पंजीकृत कर वैधानिक कार्यवाही की जाएगी।
— Bulandshahr Police (@bulandshahrpol) April 24, 2022
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.
— Nitin Meshram (@nitinmeshram_) April 25, 2022
UP Police celebrating international women day as a header of twitter handle, is now objecting a female journalist for no reason.
As a journalist she has to open the mind of society & to show every corner of truth. If there are some matters for society to think, she has to raise. https://t.co/sZ9M2vHpNs pic.twitter.com/jgn9N8auId
— Amit Mehra (@Amit8Mehra) April 25, 2022
पुलिस विभाग की इस तरह की धमकियाँ देश के लोकतंत्र की आधारशिला पर प्रहार करती हैं और अत्यंत क्षोभकारी है. बुलंदशहर पुलिस ये tweet न सिर्फ़ डिलीट करे, खेद भी प्रेषित करे. @CMOfficeUP https://t.co/aItUTGNAQU
— Wg Cdr Anuma Acharya (Retd) (@AnumaVidisha) April 25, 2022
Blatant bullying and intimidation of @meenakotwal, @The_Mooknayak and the media in general by @bulandshahrpol and @Uppolice. Read her tweet and judge for yourself how outrageous this “delete or else” demand is. https://t.co/qmVURLuOOU
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) April 25, 2022
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.