Netizens go on re-posting spree even as arrested girls say sorry
By Manasa Mohan | Published: 21st November 2012 11:34 AM |
Twenty-oneyear- old Shaheen Dhada’s post on Facebook had two unprecedented effects.
First, she was arrested under the pretext of hurting ‘religious’ sentiments and second, the virtual world went mad with indignation.
Since her arrest on Sunday, Facebook (FB) has seen an avalanche of re-posts and comments singing the same tune as Shaheen and daring the government to take the same path it did with Shaheen and her friend Renu and arrest them.
While the police had picked only the two among a whole bunch of other FB users, many of whom were a lot more direct about their dissatisfaction, the arrest has unwittingly furthered a phenomenon they hoped to curb.
Among trending posts was this: “People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a bandh for that.
” Though this was not the original post, the brevity of it is perhaps what helped it spread like wildfire through India’s FB youth.
Other posts were on the lines “Is this what freedom of speech means?”, “Let us post this (Shaheen’s message) and let them arrest us!” The other popular social networking site, micro-blogging Twitter had a more interesting reaction.
Contrary to expectations of anti- Thackery/government/ IT laws hash tags, the trending topic was #arrest ideas.
From tweets such as “Arrest the persons who laugh at serious speeches of Rahul Gandhi ji” to “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy.
But like my status, get arrested maybe?!” and “Facebook should now give three options after you post an update or comment: 1.
File Anticipatory Bail”.
The joke’s clearly on the government now.
com, however, came up with a solution to all the woes.
A website dedicated to satire, their article on ‘How to write an article without violating Indian IT laws perhaps summarises not just the jokes, but the direction we’re heading in if the police can find reasons to arrest civilians at the drop of a hat.
The advice was simple, don’t write anything.
A post script at the bottom of the blank space reads, “We have taken extreme care to ensure we don’t offend anyone here but if you are still offended then please let us know so that we can remove the offensive content.
” But whether she was too preoccupied with the fallout of her arrest to notice the social network phenomenon or just scared and anxious to avoid further trouble, Shaheen herself on Tuesday apologised for her post and even described Thackeray as a “great guy” whom she “truly respected”.
Shaheen also said she would never use the social media network henceforth.
She had no comments to offer on whether she had done anything wrong.
Her friend Renu, who was arrested for ‘liking’ the post, felt that she was “wrongfully” arrested.
Renu said, “I regret what I did.
This should not have happened.
I never dreamt that I would be in court.
What we did was not a crime.
Now I will think twice before posting anything on Facebook.
” However, eminent lawyer Abha Singh filed a complaint before the Maharashtra State Commission for Women alleging human rights violation in the arrest of the two girls.
She also demanded dismissal of the police officers involved in registering the case.
“The liberty of the two girls was seriously breached just because they were invoking their fundamental rights guaranteed by article 19 of the Constitution,” she said and added that the police had acted under pressure of local politicians.
(With PTI inputs)