KOLKATA: Social networking website Facebook Inc has removed Bengali poet Srijato Bandopadhyay's controversial poem 'Curse' after it caused a national uproar for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments. “I logged into my account on Friday evening to find that my poem has been taken down by Facebook. It may be because many of the viewers had reported against it,” Srijato said.
The poem was based on a diktat issued by one of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's aides, who had asked his followers to rape dead Muslim women by digging up their graves. The poem was uploaded on Facebook on March 19, the day Adityanath was sworn in as Chief Minister.
The poet was slapped with non-bailable charges for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments in the last line of the poem where he suggests that condoms should be worn on trishuls as long as dead Muslim women are raped.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee backed the poet and granted him police protection. “The saffron brigade is issuing grave threats against Srijato. I will make sure that he does not receive a single scratch,” she said.
Based on a complaint by hardline group Hindu Samhati member Arnab Sarkar, the Cyber Crime department of Siliguri police booked Srijato with non-bailable charges under Sections 295A (deliberate or malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 57 of Information Technology Act on Wednesday. Section 295A prescribes a minimum jail term of 3 years along with a variable fine.
Mamata Banerjee said that no action would be taken against the poet. “I have heard that non-bailable charges were pressed against Srijato. I will make sure no action is taken against him,” she added.
'Curse' has divided the public of West Bengal with a section demanding strong action against the poet while others defended his freedom of speech and expression.