A Nagpur court has remanded a youth in police custody for allegedly putting up “offensive posts” against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and his son and state Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, as well as for writing “communal and abusive posts” on Twitter.
Sameet Thakkar, who is in his mid-20s, hails from Nagpur. He was arrested by the Nagpur Police from Rajkot two days ago. Thakkar was produced before a JMFC court on Monday, and the court sent him to police custody till October 30.
One of Thakkar’s lawyers, Prakash Jaiswal, said, “The court remanded Thakkar in police custody till October 30.”
An FIR was lodged against Thakkar, a businessman, at Sitabuldi police station on August 12 on the basis of a complaint by Manish Tiwari, said to be an aide of Shiv Sena MLC Dushyant Chaturvedi. He was granted relief by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, which had ordered the police on August 28 to refrain from taking coercive action against him. The court, however, had asked him to report to the police station daily, which Thakkar didn’t follow.
The HC had then dismissed his petition on October 20, paving the way for his arrest.
“Another complaint has been filed against Thakkar at Mumbai, where the HC had directed police to refrain from taking any coercive action,” said Thakkar’s lawyer in High Court, Raspal Singh Renu
Renu added, “We are moving the Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking relief and consolidation of all cases at one place… his Twitter remarks do not constitute any offence and we are going to plead it forcefully before the Supreme Court.
“Thakkar has a huge following on Twitter, including the Prime Minister, several Union and state ministers, and hundreds of MPs and MLAs,” he said.
In the JMFC court on Monday, Thakkar’s lawyers argued that his arrest “smacked of political intolerance” and doesn’t merit police custody remand. “We told the court that if people were to be arrested for such remarks on Twitter, then we will have to create special Twitter jails in the country,” said Jaiswal.
But Government Pleader Nitin Telgote told the court that Thakkar had over 60,000 Twitter followers and the police needed to find out if he was connected to any group or organisation. He said Thakkar’s “abusive” Tweets had the potential to flare up communal tensions.
Thakkar had allegedly termed the CM “adhunik (modern) Aurangzeb” for his permission to celebrate Eid. He had also allegedly coined the term “baby penguin ” for Aaditya Thackeray. He allegedly also had “abusive communal exchanges” with members of the minority community on Twitter.
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