“Tell me will you ever think of putting any posts on facebook after this?” “No.”

NDTV 24X7 spoke to the two girls who were arrested for posting a comment on facebook. Here’s the rough transcript of the part that should bother each one of us. Do you blame them? See the original interview here.

NDTV: Do you find it strange that you wrote a post and you were arrested for that?

Girl: I apologised for that.

NDTV: But do you think you did anything wrong?

Girl: No comment… I apologise for that.

NDTV: Tell me will you ever think of putting any posts on facebook after this?

The girl: No.

[Watch the interview here: We are scared, won't write on Facebook: Women arrested for Mumbai bandh post]

And this is the facebook comment that got two young women arrested, one for posting it and the other for ‘liking’ it. Now nine people have been arrested for vandalising one of the girl’s uncle’s clinic.

Here’s the comment that got them arrested:

“With all due respect, every day thousands of people die but still the World moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone goes bonkers. They should know we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time, did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad,  Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians? Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”

More here, ‘Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not respect‘ and Shame: 2 girls arrested for harmless online comment.

Do also read, Why I can’t pay tribute to Thackeray – By Markandey Katju

http://m.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/why-i-cant-pay-tribute-to-thackeray/article4108839.ece/

Related Posts:

Pakistani blogger shot at for supporting education for girls.

Is Democracy possible without a chance for everyone to argue about issues that matter to them?

But what about the speeches that non-internet users hear?

So who said these words, and do you disagree?

What is it that you would never blog about?

Are u ok if ur daughter smokes at 24yrs to express herself? Freedom of expression is quite quite difficult to practice.

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?

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66 thoughts on ““Tell me will you ever think of putting any posts on facebook after this?” “No.”

  1. This is as absurd as it can get! I heard about the arrest and I think its ridiculous. In a nation of 1 billion people, two gets arrested for voicing their opinion. A free nation, a united nation, what does this tell about them. Succumbing isn’t the answer, 1 billion people protest, who’s stronger?

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  2. I can so understand the fear in their hearts..

    And am I the only one here who felt that the comment was not anti Thackeray, but rather it was anti-Bandh. I don’t see anything which criticizes the late politician.

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  3. It is definitely fear all the way. I mean nobody even knew someone posted something like that until they arrested her and created all this hoopla. I don’t see any hatred in that post, just an opinion on the bandh. She hasn’t even mentioned anything negative about him. Like a friend said, can we see any one neta get arrested for hate speech? I’m really sad that things like this happen in our country.

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  4. It was horrible over the weekend. Even vegetables were not available and there was absolutely nobody on the roads. Even the medical shops were shut. I kept wondering what would happen if someone faced a medical emergency. Because not only were medical shops shut, but there were no cabs on the roads either.

    Yesterday, some people in my building organised a memorial service, but I totally boycotted it. I didn’t see the point. This is highly ridiculous.

    Poor young girls. They should sue the police for false arrest. Mumbai Police is known to be high handed when it comes to the Sainiks.

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  5. I guess if I were living in Mumbai, I’d have been as well… A lot of my friends and I posted a yippie comment over Thackeray’s death. Do we not have a right to condemn him?
    Its ridiculous… Though I really dont blame the girls for apologizing (who wouldn’t be scared) , a selfish part of me wish they sued the police & criminals…

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  6. Pingback: Right to facebook.. « life under the sky

  7. Its nothing but terrorism of course…… I am shocked that the police arrested her, though not surprised by what the Shiv Sena goons did – it was expected of them.

    I mean….look at the statements on Twitter of a lot of poster boys of modern progressive India –

    Shoba De: Maharashtra’s mighty Tiger roars no more. RIP,Balasaheb Thackeray…

    Rajdeep Sardesai: Gave me an interview in 1988 as a cub reporter. Was generous with his time and thoughts. Offered me beer too! RIP #Balasahed / Tiger, Godfather, Mumbai icon, hero for many, villain for others. Balasaheb Thackeray RIP.

    …..to name a few.

    If these so called intellectuals absolve and glorify him, legitimise him (all they had to do was keep their mouth shut, they wouldn’t have been hammered for that) – what do you expect of those dumb buggers in shiv-sena.

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  8. could not have been a more absurd reason for arresting those young girls…those police personnel and Sena hooligans should first be arrested for the illegal act of arrest and vandalism at the girl’s uncles clinic.
    There could not have been a more moderate and calibrated status update than what the girl posted on fb. If this is the criterion for arrest then atleast not less than a few ten thousand persons might have easily been arrested….

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  9. So if I do not like a person and the rest of the world likes him and he dies one fine day, I am not supposed to say ‘Yeppie’? I will be arrested for that.
    Our nation is turning into one big joke.

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  10. In all honesty, I consider myself very open and ready to express what I feel, but I held back from posting ANY opinion whatsoever about the man, and then this happened. It’s really sad that not only were their opinions suppressed, but now they will be too frightened to ever express themselves again, and it won’t be just them, it’ll be a massive chunk of the online community. I don’t blame them for being scared though, we’ve all seen what they can do if something angers them. Might as well photoshop that tagline for Rowdy Rathore onto them. If you rub them up the wrong way, the consequences are dire. I suppose these people think they are handing out their own form of vigilante ‘justice’..

    Shame on the guy who saw and reported that post (I’m sure somebody on her Facebook saw the post and brought it to relevant attention), shame on the vandals, but most of all, shame on the Mumbai Police for just pandering to a bully-like call to arrest these girls.. and under what charges? “inciting religious sentiment”, if I’m not wrong?

    Freedom of Expression indeed.

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  11. If she was arrested for that, I should have been hanged for all my comments on Thackeray. Luckily I am not in the Sena Land. -:)
    But even if some one put up a complaint anywhere we can be dragged to court. The Information Technogy Act needs to repealed. It is one of the most draconian of all such acts found anywhere in the World.

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    • A girl is arrested for commenting on FaceBook; which is apparently a criminal activity. A mob molesting a young girl on a busy street? Business as usual in India. Jiyo mere Bharat!

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  12. I would be shit scared if I were in that girl’s place. But, what do you think about the interview itself? The girls and the uncle clearly indicate that they don’t want to say much. The situation is already trying. Aren’t they being taxed further? I get a feeling that words are forcefully fed into their mouth. They are in mortal fear and don’t want to risk saying anything to add to the damage. Is it right on the part of the media to thrust a barrage of questions on them? After what they have been through, does the media expect them to say something sensational? I have not been able to find any footage of the people who vandalized questioned, or the person who sought the arrest. Maybe I didn’t search enough. Are we applying the same standards of placing more focus on the victims here too like in cases of rape, and not on the offenders?

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    • Vidya, I think it’s good if we all see on the national television how censorship can be used to terrify and silence innocent citizens. I too would have been terrified if I was in their place, that is why such incidents/injustice/outrage should not be allowed to go unreported and as much noise as possible should be made.

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  13. Why doesn’t NDTV interview the Policemen who arrested the girl and the cowards who vandalised the uncle’s clinic? When will MEDIA become responsible and choose to pick on the villains rather than the victims?????

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  14. A total mockery of freedom of speech. The law/state unnecessarily thrusts its nose in when some ordinary citizen supposedly offends somebody or some religion – in this case a man whose legacy is parochial identity politics based on violence and blatant goondagiri.

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  15. The girls look/sound scared. What can they say now after they were arrested and their uncle’s clinic ransacked? If they utter a single word about how they really feel, they fear they will be killed. The police should be interviewed so that we know who gave the order for this arrest of these harmless, innocent girls.

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    • It’s good that now it is all over the internet and has media coverage. All those who were silent and hesitating in expressing similar thoughts (and even those who disagreed with Shaheen) are now sharing this image by Kafila. Take a look at Bohemian Rhapsody’s comment.

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    • Mr.Bhagwad,

      This is not the time to be depressed. Anger is the right emotion for situations like these, because anger when channeled in the right direction fuels positive change. And I know that we need POSITIVE change in India and that can happen only when right thinking people like yourself do not stop fighting the fight.

      So let this incident not depress you, but inspire you, me and everyone else who feels that whatever happened to Shaheen, Renu and the other folks was unjust and a violation of their basic rights.

      Like

  16. This is the banana republic we live in. I have seen what these goons to at so called Maratha-land. One of our office buses was burnt down, in full public view because the a global MNC, which had an office in Pune provided employment to non-Marathis.

    Largely, the educated masses of Maharashtra do understand that his ways were wrong and don’t really support his ideology. It is just the illiterate people and the goons owned by these politicians who are blind enough to make him a hero, even when what he preached and practiced during the final years of his life was more like denying fundamental rights to citizens of India who aren’t Maharshtrians.

    Whatever happened was sad. It bothers me to think about it. Do we really have a right to express ourselves in this country? Or is it only to the extent until we aren’t badmouthing the politicians.
    First Kapil Sibal’s ridiculous theories, then they arrest a cartoonist who dared to pot ray reality, and now a bunch of girls who wrote what they felt! Heights!!!

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    • Honestly, as a “Marathi manoos” whose cause he allegedly championed, I’m glad that he’s six feet under. He was tiresome when alive, and tiresome now that he’s dead. He’s largely responsible for making Mumbai the intolerant, bigot-infested city that it’s become.

      As a journalist, I was shocked to see that the BMC’s headquarters, a heritage building mind you, had damp, rat infested rooms and walls turned red by paan and tobacco stains. This is what his party gave to Mumbai — bigotry in the name of regional pride.

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  17. I guess the whole incident (and the publicity it received) was meant to create fear in the minds of people about what they write on Facebook and other social media (including blogs). I guess the problem lies in the fact that we do not have a proper law governing social media. I don’t think social media can be treated on par with traditional media, considering the limited reach personal networks might have. So, punishments for even genuine offenders (in personal social media networks) can’t be imprisonment and the likes.

    But if people remain quiet, the problem will only amplify. The oppressors don’t have any inherent strength. They gather strength due to public’s fear and silence. What happened to those two girls can happen to any of us tomorrow. While I do not think that people have the right to say anything and everything on social media, I really feel that people should come together and voice their opinion against this act, which clearly aims at suppressing freedom of speech.

    I do not find anything wrong in the message posted by the young girl. If there is a law that enables that, steps should be taken to repeal it. I appreciate the messages of Justice Katju on this matter. I also appreciate your blog post, IHM.

    Destination Infinity

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  18. who ordered the arrest?? that’s what we need to find out and let it be knows to the entire world. the sena can complain about anyone and everyone but the police took action – so they are to blame.

    the clinic was destroyed, if the sena did it, get their names, c’mon can’t be hard, they are a bunch of thugs living inthe neighbourhood unpad gavar idiots.. not robin hood. they are to blame for the clinic. catch them get their money / or if they acted on behalf of RSS get the money from rss and pay back the uncle..

    media can only help in this .. get the names first and i hope youngsters will slowly wake up and take care of the rest.

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  19. Pingback: The Rise of the Pseudo-Freedom | Freshly Written

  20. I am so sure the parents of these girls put all the blame on the girls for speaking what they feel. “Kya zaroorat thi panga leneki?” must have been the attitude. That’s why they are so quiet. “No comments”, “I apologize”, “I truly respect that guy”???? Where has all the spunk gone…that spunk in the post?? Those girls could have stood up for the freedom of speech had they had supportive parents.

    Their interview was such a case of ‘Stockholm syndrome’. They think their abusers are the only ones that can save them from the abuse so they want to placate them!

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    • I think that’s not very fair. If I was 21 and I was arrested and my uncles clinic was vandalised by a bunch of violent goons, all for posting a mild comment on my own FB wall, I’m of course going to be very, very, very circumspect about what I say in public. He’ll, I’m 28, and I’d still be very circumspect if I were in that situation – I have seen that theres no respect for freedom of speech, even the police are on the side of the goons. This time it was just an arrest an vandalism – next time she could be beaten up, or the house burnt down. This country has shown very clearly that there is no one who will protect you and your right to free speech!

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  21. I can no longer criticise the Pakistanis for not being able to rein in extremist elements who threaten girls and seek to prevent them from going to school.

    We are unable to rein in our own extremists here in India.

    I won’t be surprised if some one tells the girls “Look what you did. Your so called freedom of expression has cost your uncle his clinic. He is the innocent sufferer in this tragedy. You got away with just an apology. Who will compensate your uncle?”

    This reminds me of a similar dialogue from politically correct politicians in USA who criticised the makers of the recent video on Prophet Mohammed “abusing their freedom of expression” and for causing the deaths of so many innocent people around the world including their own ambassador who was killed in the attack on the US embassy at Benghazi.

    The Shiv Sena is not alone in this kind of behaviour. Criticising Jyoti Basu in Bengal, MGR or Rajnikant in Tamilnadu, Raj Kumar in Karnataka will probably invite similar reactions from their fanatic supporters. Any criticism of the Prophet or the religion of Islam, will provoke some Muslims and cause violent behaviour just as any painting of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the nude will cause violent behaviour among some Hindus.

    A mature democracy with true freedom of expression is still a far way off in our country.
    I thought the USA was a mature democracy till this recent incident of the video on Islam and how the Government reacted to it.

    Regards
    GV

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    • Yes, totally ridiculous. ‘We couldn’t control our feelings of sadness so broke your uncle’s hospital’. My husband didn’t believe he would do anything of the kind because he believed no one would want to break stuff when sad. He was clearly wrong.. they will use any excuse.

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  22. Freedom of speech indeed. The kind of things that have been happening in this country this year have angered me and depressed me so much that I’m questioning why I choose to live here? All this rage and anger and hurt are surely not good for my health and well being? I’m ranting and raging, I’m hoping to change attitudes and behaviours, but in the face of the events of this year, I’m convinced things will not change for the better in our banana republic. It just upsets me so much I have to shut it out of my head or I will get depressed.

    I shared a pretty scathing article on Bal Thackeray on my FB wall. I don’t live in Mumbai so those assholes couldn’t do anything, thankfully. I cant believe its coming to this.

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  23. The British-Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi says “You are indeed free to speak your mind in Iran, you just are not free after you have spoken.” Has India become the same?

    Like

  24. Pingback: What do you find offensive enough to make you violent? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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