India’s Freedom of Expression Questioned Over Girls’ Arrest for a Facebook Post!

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So Much for the freedom of expression in the largest democracy of the world!

India’s Freedom of Expression Questioned Over Girls’ Arrest for a Facebook Post!

Image Captured From: YouTube

So Much for the freedom of expression in the largest democracy of the world!

The Indian newspaper, The Hindu reports the arrest of two women for ‘promoting enmity between classes’ and ‘sending offensive messages.’ Their crime? They refused to mourn the death of Bal Thakeray.

Bal Thackeray, chief of the right wing Hindu party Shiv Sena, died at the age of 86 on November 17th, 2012. He was a religious zealot known for his stronghold over Mumbai. He was president and founder of the hardliner Shiv Sena party, built around his fiery rhetoric on religion, immigration and communalism, anti-south Indian, anti-north Indian and anti-Muslim stances.

Mumbai is hut down on his death. There definitely must be hundreds of people questioning the sanity of the act, two had the guts, or gall to question it openly.

21 year old Shaheen Dhada made a post on Facebook (her account has since been deactivated), criticizing the total shutdown in the city for Bal Thackeray’s funeral.

India’s Freedom of Expression Questioned Over Girls’ Arrest for a Facebook Post!

Image From: YouTube

With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on,” her post read. “Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time, did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians? Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.

Her post was liked by another young Facebook user, Renu Srinivasan. Both got arrested and put behind bars! After a hue and cry made over their arrest, they were released on bail and an inquiry is supposed to take place probing their arrest. But the matter didn’t rest there. Shaheen Dhada’s paternal uncle, who is a doctor, had to pay a price as well. A mob of angry Shiv Sainiks ransacked his hospital just because of his connection to the girl.

It goes to show that she was not put in jail for ‘‘promoting enmity between classes’ or ‘sending offensive message,’ but rather telling the truth!

“Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.” This was the truth in that Facebook post that got Shaheen Dhada arrested and harassed.

This is not the only incident. The arrest of Aseem Trivedi is not a thing of distant past. Neither is that of Ravi Srinivasan or Ambikesh Mahapatra.

So what of freedom of expression?

Here is what the people of India have to say:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank goodness for that indeed!

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