A day after activist Teesta Setalvad allegedly tweeted “objectionable” illustrations of Hindu gods and goddesses, two complaints were filed against her by local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders in Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad on Saturday. They also burnt her effigy late on Saturday.
Kirit Mistry, joint general secretary of VHP for Saurashtra lodged a complaint with C Division police in Bhavnagar alleging the activist had hurt his religious feelings and sought to disturb the communal harmony. “The pictures on her Twitter account is an attempt to disturb harmony of India and hurts religious sentiments and faith of Hindus,” Mistry stated in his complaint.
Setalvad, however, had deleted the controversial tweet on Friday and sent out an apology in a press statement. Her statement said, “I am travelling and was in a mad rush this morning preparing for a Memorial Lecture I was invited to deliver this afternoon in Kolkata. On receiving the friend’s message, I took a quick glance at the illustration depicting the ISIS’ gruesome beheading of the American journalist. Looking at the visual as a whole, I did think the illustration needed reworking as it may be interpreted differently by different people. However, in the mad rush that I was in, I tweeted the same with my caption, ‘Chilling’.
She added, “The moment I realised that the illustration had created a controversy and had hurt many people, I deleted the tweet and tweeted an immediate apology for having ‘inadvertently’ hurt their feelings.”
Based on the complaint, C Division police have booked Setalvad under IPC Sections 295 (a), 153 (a) and IT Act Section 66 (a and b). Mistry said he was watching news on television in VHP office on Saturday morning when he came to know of the tweets. When reminded that Setalvad had already tendered apology saying the tweet was inadvertent, Mistry said it was not acceptable to VHP.
“What is the use of tendering apology? We cannot let this pass like this. She has spoken against Hindus thousands of time in the past,” said the VHP leader. Meanwhile, VHP men burnt an effigy of the activist at Shivaji circle in Bhavnagar.
In Ahmedabad, VHP members led by its city chief Raju Patel lodged an FIR against Setalvad with the Ghatlodia police station. Police inspector AG Gohil said that an FIR has been lodged for inciting religious sentiments.