Sensitive India Inc

Maybe it’s not the whole country just yet, but in the aftermath of the 2008 terror attacks, Mumbai has become a very sensitive city. Did you hear about the one where that Indian girl and her friend were arrested over a Facebook post? Now put aside the fact that the post was neither offensive nor hateful for a moment. Mumbai is a city with a population of 12.4 million people. How in God’s name did this one post from an obscure citizen end up reaching the powers that be, that ended up getting her arrested? Is India watching its citizens like its neighbors?

Experts now claim that the police messed up in the arrest process as, by law, they aren’t allowed to arrest women between dusk and dawn except under “exceptional circumstances”. Really? If we are going to treat women equally as men, I say let everyone get arrested based on the seriousness of their crimes rather than gender. But i digress.

Now the cops arrested them based on a couple of charges, but later withdrew those charges and  booked them under different ones. How can you do that post arrest? Shouldn’t you have a valid reason to arrest folks in the first place? And if that turns out to be wrong, seems to me like they should be allowed to go free at least for now. You shouldn’t be able to shift charges at will. Seems pretty ridiculous.

Then there is the question of the formal charges filed. The girls were charged under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code which

pertains to statements which create or promote enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes

Classes? I think its safe to assume that this isn’t the middle class  / rich we are talking about here. If the Penal Code still has laws that protects the class system, how is India ever supposed to get to a place where everyone is treated equally with no bias based on what they were born into?

At the end of the day. what are the lessons learnt? If you are on Facebook or Twitter, do not make your posts public. If you do make your posts public, stay away from politics and religion. With all the umbrella-laws in place to curb your freedom, better safe than sorry.

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