Reacting to the arrest of a 28-year-old student who shouted slogans in the presence of Tamil Nadu BJP chief, DMK chief M K Stalin Monday called for her release and accused the Tamil Nadu government of stifling the right to free speech. Lois Sofia, who had shouted “fascist BJP government down, down”, was arrested at the Tuticorin Airport based on a complaint filed by Tamilisai Soundararajan.
Targeting the AIADMK-led government in the state, Stalin also said that if it was going to imprison people voicing dissent, then he would repeat Sofia’s slogan.
“The Tamil Nadu government’s anti-democratic actions, against the right to free speech, are highly condemnable. She must be released immediately. How many people will be imprisoned if you arrest everyone who says that? I will also say it. ‘BJP’s fascist government down, down’,” Stalin tweeted.
According to a police officer, Lois was charged under IPC Sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 290 (public nuisance) and Section 75 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act.
Her father, meanwhile, alleged that she was bullied and threatened after she shouted the slogan. “Tamilisai and some 10 men who received her at the airport surrounded us and bullied my daughter with abusive words. They issued death threats. Finally, the airport police came to our help and secured us in a room.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tamilisai said, “No innocent girl will use that word. I questioned her. She replied that she has the right to freedom of expression. She shouted that slogan and used the word ‘fascist’, raising her fist and all. I thought I shouldn’t ignore a terrorist, so I filed a petition.”