A guest lecturer at Silchar’s Gurucharan College in Assam has been arrested on Friday, February 28, for alleged Facebook posts which criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and RSS for “trying to recreate Godhra in Delhi right now.”
The accused, identified as Souradeep Sengupta, has reportedly resigned on Friday after being informed by the Principal that the authority is being pressurised to take action against him after demonstrations by the students against the lecturer erupted in the college premises.
On Friday evening, around 30 students also entered Sengupta’s residence and “created a ruckus”, one of his family member was reported as saying, which was followed by his arrest.
According to the reports, Sengupta has been charged under sections 295A, 153A, 507IPC, and 66 of IT Act.
In the wake of the communal violence in the national capital, described as one of the worst in decades, Sengupta had taken to Facebook to express his condemnation of the terror unleashed mainly upon Muslims.
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The controversial Facebook post reads, “The BJP and RSS are trying to recreate Godhra in Delhi right now. People on the street are getting their IDs checked to see if they are Muslim – if they are, they are getting beaten mercilessly. Hindu houses are being marked by saffron flags, while Muslim houses and mosques are being petrol-bombed. All while these terrorists shout Jai shree ram. Sanatan dharma my foot. We elected a murderer twice as PM – this is what we get. Everyone who voted for BJP should know they sold the country off for a few bucks.”
In another post, Sengupta called Hindutva as a “cancer.”
However, both the posts were deleted later, following an apology on Friday, in which Sengupta 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 judgment. My intention was not to insult any religion at large.”
The apology was not enough for the students, who along with staging demonstrations, also submitted a memorandum to the Principal demanding Sengupta’s immediate termination.
In a Facebook post, Karanjit Deb, Silchar’s City Secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who is also among those who signed the memorandum, has also demanded action against Sengupta.
Sumallya Mukopadhyay, a friend of Sengupta, while speaking to NewsClick expressed concerns over the “limiting” space in which today’s dispensation can be questioned or criticised.
Mukopadhyay told NewsClick that while he was the President of Presidency University’s Students’ Union at Kolkata in 2014-15, Sengupta was the Assistant General Secretary.
“We used to be very vocal against the state and their policies at that time. However, never before had there been an experience of getting heckled, trolled, and being gheraoed, for being critical of the government,” he said.
While denouncing his friend’s arrest, Mukopadhyay said that times are not the same when one freely expresses themselves.
On February 23, violence broke out in parts of Northeast Delhi following a three-day ultimatum issued by a BJP leader Kapil Mishra to vacate roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh which were blocked by women protesting against the three-pronged attack of Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens. The mob terror which saw vandalism, arson and stone-pelting has claimed 42 lives as on Saturday and left as many as 200 injured.
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