The Thoothukudi police on Monday arrested a 28-year-old research scholar for allegedly raising anti-BJP slogan in a flight from Chennai in which her co-passenger was Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundarajan.
The researcher, S Lois Sophia a researcher from Montreal in Canada,was booked under different sections of the IPC relating causing public nuisance and disturbing peace and produced before a local magistrate in Thoothukudi who remanded her to judicial custody for 14 days. However, another local magistrate granted her bail on Tuesday.
According to reports, Sophia raised slogans when Tamilisai tried to take her baggage from the baggage cabin in the plane. After the plane landed, Tamilisai met Sopha at the lounge and demanded an apology. When she refused, Tamilisai lodged a complaint with the airport police who tried in vain to pacify her.
Talking to reporters at the airport, Tamilisai questioned Sophia’s background. Thoothukudi police said she was closely related to local advocate Athisayakumar who is leading activist in the anti-Sterlite movement.
Tamilisai said “ I can face any criticism, but not inside a plane”.
Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu and DMK president M K Stalin however denounced the arrest of Sophia by the Tamil Nadu police as an attack on freedom of expression and demanded her immediate release. He also tweeted “Down with Fascist Modi Government” and dared the government to arrest him.
Leaders of various political parties including the CPI-M, CPI, DMK, Congress and PMK criticised the police "high handedness" and demanded the woman's immediate release.
Twitterati also raised their voice against the arrest and #ReleaseSophia became one of the top trends on the microblogging website. Students in some colleges in the State came out in support of the research student.