A youth in Kalyan was booked last week for allegedly sharing an offensive meme on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his Facebook page. A complaint in this regard was lodged by 22-year-old Lokesh Jadhav last week after the meme shared by a mutual friend showed up on his Facebook page. Jadhav, who works at a warehouse in Bhiwandi and lives in Kalyan, found that it had been posted by a man named Kaustubh Ranalkar.
The meme, the police said, equated a pivotal scene in the 1997 film Titanic with reservation for members of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. In the meme, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack Dawson asks Rose Bukater, played by Kate Winslet, for space on a floating door after the ship sinks in the Atlantic Ocean. The meme had Ambedkar’s face superimposed on Rose’s and read that the space was reserved for SC/ST candidates who furnished caste certificates.
Jadhav, who belongs to the Mahar community, said he was outraged after seeing the image. “I called up Ranalkar and asked him what he meant by that image. He asked me to meet him,” Jadhav said.
A couple of days later, when the duo met in Kalyan, Ranalkar allegedly smashed Jadhav’s cellphone. “Ranalkar said the SC and ST communities do not deserve reservation. But the funny thing is that he belongs to an OBC community and also benefits from reservation. He used very derogatory language and damaged my phone,” Jadhav added.
However, Jadhav had already taken a screenshot of the meme, which Ranalkar had by then deleted from his Facebook page, the police said. Jadhav registered a complaint at Kalyan Taluka Police Station. An offence has been registered against Ranalkar, who is a college student, under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Information Technology Act for spreading obscene content and the Indian Penal Code for criminal intimidation causing damage. An officer said search was underway to find Ranalkar.