Souradeep Sengupta, a physics teacher at Gurcharan College in Silchar, Assam, was arrested after a group of students accused him of posting ‘objectionable material on Facebook’, reported The Indian Express.
The students registered an FIR against him for “making derogatory remarks and abusing the Sanatan Dharma”. Their FIR filed by the 10 students also stated, “He has also alleged the prime minister of the nation [w]as a mass murderer and tried to incite communal violence by making inflammatory comments against the Hindu community.”
Ironically, Dilip Ghosh, a BJP leader and serial hate speech offender, asked for Souradeep’s arrest.
This person should get serious punishment for such type of instigative and anti-national speeches… pic.twitter.com/PWFJREEwTO
— Dilip Ghosh (@DilipGhoshBJP) February 29, 2020
Manabendra Dev Ray, SP Chachar mentioned that Sengupta was booked under sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 507 IPC (criminal intimidation) and 66 of the IT Act. “He has been arrested on Friday due to anti-social comments on Facebook which may lead to communal tensions,” Ray said.
IE reported that Sengupta had put up a post (now deleted) in context of the Delhi violence suggesting that some sections were trying to recreate the 2002 Godhra Riots in the national capital.
Following the backlash, Sengupta deleted the post and apologized for hurting “any religious sentiments”. He wrote, “I apologise for any religious sentiments I may have hurt by my posts. I made some irresponsible comments about a communally sensitive issue. It was a lapse of judgement. My intention was not to insult any religion at large.”
Barak Bulletin reported his family member as saying, ““A a mob of 50 abusive young students surrounded the house in the evening. A while later, around 30 students entered the residence and created a ruckus. They looked around and started shouting at his parents. They asked his mother what kind of upbringing have you given to your child that he grew up to post all this nonsense on Facebook. Another boy said not a single image of any God or Goddesses in the whole house, you all cannot be called Hindus at any cost. The family members kept apologizing as they wanted to settle it out of the court.”
The person added, “When the parents requested to settle it all, they demanded that Souradeep must go live on Facebook and apologise for his posts. Souradeep was not at his home but when his mother called he went back to his residence and that is when Police officials arrested him and took him to Silchar Sadar Police station. He is still there and we will appeal for a bail tomorrow.”
However, a man who claims to be a staunch right-winger had posted a similar post on Facebook, in fact it was thinly veiled threat to the minorities. Yet, he wasn’t arrested.
There are millions like Brajendra Patel who have posted outright threats against the minorities. Yet, the police hasn’t taken any action against them.
Is Sengupta’s arrest just another example of the suppression of free speech and the quashing of anybody who speaks against the ruling party?