Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing will challenge the Supreme Court order asking its activist Priyanka Sharma to apologise for posting a meme of Mamata Banerjee, PTI reported on Tuesday. BJP leader Poonam Mahajan said the verdict has sent out a “wrong message”.
A vacation bench of the Supreme Court granted bail to Sharma, but said she should apologise in writing once she was released. The bench said freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon the rights of others.
Welcoming the order, Mahajan said she was grateful to the court for granting bail to Sharma. “But the direction of apology sends out a wrong message on the question of free speech,” said Mahajan, the president of BJP’s Yuva Morcha. “In July, when the writ petition is coming up, we are going to contest it because this is a bigger issue.”
Sharma was arrested on May 10 and remanded to 14 days judicial custody after she was accused of sharing a morphed photo of Banerjee on social media. The meme Sharma had shared showed Banerjee’s face photoshopped on a picture of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra from the MET Gala in New York.
BJP leaders have protested Sharma’s arrest. “We have been battling the TMC [Trinamool Congress] in Bengal for two years and many of our activists have been arrested, beaten up and even killed by their goons,” alleged Mahajan. “This has exposed how anarchy has spread in Bengal and how in Mamata didi’s rule, freedom of expression has been strangled to death.” Mahajan compared Banerjee to Hitler and alleged that she uses her ego and power to suppress opposition. “The woman [Banerjee] who is always speaking of democratic rights and talking of how the Constitution is in danger, is not controlling her Hitleresque regime,” said Mahajan.