Kolkata: A Bengal-based blogger was arrested last week for criticising Islam on social media. Blogger Tarak Biswas was arrested after TMC leader Sanaullah Khan filed a complaint against him. The blogger was arrested on Friday from Kalyani, said Howrah police.
Biswas, who is under 7-day police custody, was arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments, hate speech and posting offensive messages through communication services.
“Sanaullah Khan had filed FIR against Biswas for hurting religious sentiments. Based on the complaint filed, we arrested him. Presently he is in police custody,” said a police official. A rights group has demanded immediate release of Biswas, stating that a person has every right to express himself.
Following Biswas’ arrest, lot of support has poured in for him over social media sites. Tarak Biswas’ arrest has once again fuelled the debate over freedom of speech and expression in the country. “Sanaullah Khan had registered a first information report (FIR) against Biswas for hurting religious sentiments. Based on the complaint filed, we arrested him. He is in police custody,” said a senior police officer of the Howrah Police Commissionerate who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, a rights group has demanded Biswas’s immediate release and withdrawal of all cases against him. “We do not support the comments posted by him on social media. At the same time, a person has every right to express himself. We demand his immediate release and withdrawal of all charges slapped on him,” said a member of the rights group, Ranjit Sur.
While state government officials refused to comment on the issue, rights activists took a dig at the government for allegedly putting him behind bars for hate speech on social media. “The state government’s tendency has always been to put freethinkers behind bars. A few years ago, a professor was jailed for circulating a cartoon of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. We can’t expect the state government to allow its people the privileges of free speech,” added Sur.
The cyber space was soon abuzz with messages expressing solidarity with Biswas. Samir Kumar Mondal, a resident of Ilambazar, who posted one such message on social media, was reportedly arrested by the police.