Bharatiya Janata Party's Yuva Morcha leader in Bengal, Priyanka Sharma was arrested and sent to jail by Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee's police. She had to spend 14 days at a time when general elections are the main topic of discussion and mongering and utterances which mean nothing in respect of the outcome. Mamata will win hands down say political observers. The charge against Priyanka was that she published and circulated a meme of chief minister Mamata Banerjee reminiscent of Priyanka Chopra’s recent appearance with frizzy hair. She was charged with criminal defamation.
A petition was filed against her by not Mamata but one of her party followers. This was at a time all hell broke out in Bengal with the Mamata party and the BJP indulging in vandalism and criminal acts.
Priyanka applied for freedom in the Supreme Court against her arrest. She was accused of defaming Mamata in social media watched by lakhs of people. Our Prime Minister Modi has said in a public meeting in Bengal that he would welcome a meme of him. A few years ago Modi and Mamata, today's sworn enemies, had praised each other.
The Supreme Court issued a direction that Priyanka be released immediately but asked her to apologise. This looks strange considering the fact that the charges against her were so silly. It's a reflection of the police of Bengal and more than that the government of Bengal. It shows, strictly speaking, the power that is allergic to dissent, the Times said it in an editorial.
It raises more questions like what is freedom? Is there any limit to which it can go? What is freedom of expression? Are we to set a limit to this, and more important are we to inform or educate the people of the limits? Freedom of speech does not mean violating the rights of others. But this violation is done by all Indians in many ways.
Imagine if someone, a crazy fellow, circulates something which says the prophet of Islam is ----. I shudder to think of it. Reminded of what happened to a college lecturer in Kerala sometime back. What would happen if Pinarayi, our chief minister, and Achuthananthan the senior most living leader of the Marxists, and PC George, an MLA of Kerala, were to keep saying things which will not go well with any educated and grown up Keralites who care for decency. Especially PC George, he is the one who tops the list. George says things at public meetings that tend to be not done.
Truth to tell, it is a very silly thing we the people, the police and in some sense the judiciary have taken the words not very seriously but as a way of speaking to attract people's attention or to embarrass some of their political enemies.
Freedom of all sorts, freedom of expression, freedom of liberty, and the freedom of the press are strange words to a vast majority. They hear it day in and day out but don't bother about what it means. I myself do not know this, to tell the truth. All I know is there should be some limitation to it. Otherwise all hell will break loose. A vast majority of Indians who number over 130 crores do not bother about these things. They have their own things to attend to --- their day of humdrum existence, their daily bread, even if they get it. They may listen to all the nonsense spoken by politicians, high priests and their kith and kin. But they go about doing their work whatever kind of work they be, even theft or cheating cases.
How many of our Kerala leaders would have been arrested by the police of Kerala. What the police of Bengal showed is that they are lenient to the political masters. This speaks volumes for politicians of Kerala and the police who have high regard for the rule of law despite their alliances with political parties.
Let us have a look at what happened in Bengal, in the land of many political and religious leaders and poets of the highest order who have showed the way to India. The meme was catapulted to our audiences after the Trinamul Congress (TMC ) cracked down on Priyanka Sharma.
The shenanigans of politicians , especially Mamata Banerjee and Modi are becoming thoroughly noticed in India. But to no avail. Modi and Amit Shah and their lieutenants will end up as yesterday's heroes to their sycophants. People may forget a few good things Modi has done like the bill on Talaq. Which no leftist or Congressmen did. Modi talked and had it delivered. Our destiny is such that people have to bow to people's wishes, how good or bad or ugly, will be is a different issue.
Thanks to the SC judges who delivered judgment on Priyanka Sharma will be forgotten by the masses, unless she makes a mark for herself in the BJP. Tomorrow she and Mamata could be like what Modi and Mamata were five years ago. That is Indian politics. Let us make no comments on it. Let bygones be bygones.
(The views and facts mentioned in this article are that of the author)