A mob of nearly 40 men from right-wing outfits gathered outside a college lecturer’s house in Silchar, Assam, who was arrested for posting derogatory remarks about the prime minister, and asked his family “what kind of Hindus” they were after they found no photos of gods, The Wire reported on Saturday.
The incident occurred on Friday, shortly after police acted on the complaint to arrest Souradeep Sengupta, a guest lecturer at Gurucharan College, from his residence. Sengupta had written about the violence in Delhi and the role of the Hindutva forces in it on his Facebook page.
Sengupta’s family members said the mob had also forced their way into their home while shouting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans, according to The Indian Express. “They were loud and kept on asking what kind of Hindus they were, if there were no photos of gods on their portico,” a relative said. “They refused to leave until he made a Facebook Live video, apologising to everyone for his comments. His mother, who by then was pretty nervous, agreed. Souradeep too had been informed of what was going on, and he rushed back home.”
After the backlash, Sengupta deleted the posts and apologised for “some irresponsible comments about a communally sensitive issue”. His bail application was put on hold and he was sent to judicial custody till March 2.
The lecturer was arrested under three sections of the Indian Penal Code and 66A of the Information Technology Act that defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device. The Indian Penal Code sections slapped against him include 295A dealing with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.
In his post, Sengupta had reportedly accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the saffron party’s ideological parent, of attempting to recreate the 2002 Godhra riots, in which more than 1,000 people were killed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state at the time.
“People on the street are getting their IDs checked to see if they are Muslim – if they are, they are getting beaten mercilessly,” the teacher had reportedly posted. “All while these terrorists shout Jai Shree Ram. Sanatan Dharma my foot. We elected a mass murder twice as PM – this is what we get. Everyone who voted for BJP should know they sold the country off for a few bucks.”
At least 42 people have died and over 200 injured in the communal violence in North East Delhi.