Internet freedom hits a new low in India : Maharashtra CM asked to prosecute cops who “arrested” woman for Facebook comment

The press council of India Chairman Justice Katju on Monday wrote to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to initiate criminal proceedings against the police personnel who allegedly arrested a woman in Mumbai for posting a message on Facebook against a state wide bandh.

“To my mind it is absurd to say that protesting against a bandh hurts religious sentiments,” Justice Katju wrote.

Two youngsters who protested on Facebook against Mumbai Bandh on Sunday following the death of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray were arrested and later released on bail.

Justice Katju said:

…if the facts reported are correct, I request you to immediately order the suspension, arrest, chargesheeting and criminal prosecution of the police personnel (however high they may be) who ordered as well as implemented the arrest of that woman, failing which I will deem it that you as Chief Minister are unable to run the state in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution to which you have taken oath..

He also threatened that legal consequences will follow if the CM fails to uphold democratic principles.

This is not the first time arrests have been made in India because of comments on the Internet.

In October, a small scale industrialist was arrested by the police alleging that Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram had amassed wealth disproportionate to his sources of legitimate income. He was arrested under section 66-A of the IT act.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee got Ambikesh Mahapatra, a Jadavpur University Professor and his neighbor arrested for forwarding anti- Mamata cartoons on e-mail.

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