New Delhi: In yet another case of an arrest for sharing a meme, cartoon or message allegedly insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an Assam teacher was taken into custody on Monday for his comments on Facebook.
According to Northeast Now, Abu Taleb, who teaches Hindi at Lakhipur High School in the state’s Goalpara district, invited trouble when he wrote on the social media platform: “Voting for Narendra Modi’s BJP candidate and garlanding a dog is the same thing”.
Assam Police arrested Taleb after an FIR was filed based on two complaints by the president of the BJP’s Lakhipur unit and the Inspector of Schools of Goalpara district, Nripen Da, according to Scroll.in.
“We have already registered a case against the accused teacher for the derogatory remarks he made against the prime minister of India. However, he has been allowed to go after interrogation. We are continuing our investigation and he may be brought to book if found guilty,” Amitava Sinha, the superintendent of police at Goalpara was quoted as saying.
According to Time 8, Das’s complaint stated the Facebook post was unfair and unexpected against the prime minister. Das also placed Taleb under suspension pending an inquiry.
Taleb’s arrest signifies the deteriorating space for free speech in the country under Modi government – especially when it comes to speaking against the prime minister himself. Ironically, just a few months ago the prime minister had encouraged criticism against his government.
I want this Government to be criticised. Criticism makes democracy strong: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 18, 2018
In September, Congress’ chief of communications Divya Spandana was booked for sedition for tweeting a photoshopped picture of Modi showing him painting “chor” (thief) on his own wax statue’s forehead. She shared it using the hashtag “ChorPMChupHai”.
Last November, a youth from Tamil Nadu was arrested for allegedly making abusive comments about the prime minister in a private Facebook conversation.
In June 2017, a Muslim schoolteacher in Assam was arrested after it was found that his WhatsApp profile carried “offensive” photos of Modi.
In October 2016, the target was the owner of a school in Sardhana, Uttar Pradesh. Mudassir Rana was arrested for sharing a Facebook post – without any comment – which was a cartoonish illustration of the faces of Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and several ministers of the BJP, depicted as the ten heads of Ravan.
In June 2014, the principal of a government college in Kerala was arrested for publishing in a college magazine a picture of Modi along with those of Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Ajmal Kasab.