Thursday, 21 October 2021

Indian politician jailed over Modi Facebook post

NEW DELHI: An Indian politician who posted a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a begging bowl on Facebook has been arrested, police said, in the latest example of what critics say is a clampdown on free speech.

It follows more than a dozen similar arrests last year in a clampdown on those attacking the Hindu nationalist premier’s policies or ideology.

Sathiyaraj Balu, a member of a local pro-Tamil party, was arrested on Saturday after he posted a morphed picture of Modi with a begging bowl a day ahead of the PM’s visit to the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

He has been charged with intent to disrupt the peace and to create ill-will between classes, after an official complaint was made by local members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“We received a complaint against him (Balu) and took action as per the law,” a senior police officer in the district said, on the condition of anonymity.

Balu is being remanded in custody pending a police investigation.

A television reporter is in jail in the northeastern state of Manipur for alleged posts that also criticised Modi and the state’s chief minister Biren Singh.

Kishorechandra Wangkhem was arrested in December under a Draconian law that allows authorities to detain anyone for up to a year without trial.

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