A writer in Assam was on Tuesday arrested on sedition charges, reportedly for a Facebook post about the security personnel killed in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh last week, The Indian Express reported, quoting Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta.
The newspaper reported that Sikha Sarma, in a Facebook post on April 5, had said: “Salaried professionals who die in the line of duty cannot be termed martyrs. Going by that logic, electricity department workers who die of electrocution should also be labelled martyrs. Do not make people sentiment, media.”
Twenty-two security personnel were killed and at least 30 more were wounded in the four-hour gun battle with Maoists that took place in the forests of Bijapur in Chhattisgarh on April 2. This was the bloodiest ambush of its kind in four years.
Sarma’s arrest came a day after two Gauhati High Court lawyers filed a first information report against her at the Dispur police station. The FIR was registered under several other sections of the Indian Penal Code and one of the Information Technology Act, according to Pratidin Time.
The lawyers said that Sarma’s remark was an “utter disrepute” to the honour of soldiers, according to The Indian Express. “Such distasteful remarks not only reduce the unparalleled sacrifice of our jawans to a mere money making discourse, but is also verbal assault on the spirit and sanctity of service of the nation,” they added.
Sarma was also heavily criticised on social media for her comment. “Isn’t misrepresenting my post mental harassment?” she said amid the backlash, according to The Indian Express. “Will the false propaganda against me come under rule of law?”