A 48-year-old Assamese writer was arrested in Guwahati on Tuesday on charges of sedition and other offences for an alleged Facebook post on security forces after 22 personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Chattisgarh.
The accused, Sikha Sarma, a Guwahati-based writer, was arrested under “various sections, including IPC 124A (sedition)”, Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta said. “She will be produced in court tomorrow.”
Sarma, known to be vocal on social media, had allegedly written a Facebook post on Monday: “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 sentimental, media.”
The post received a lot of backlash online.
On Monday, two advocates of Gauhati High Court, Umi Deka Baruah and Kangkana Goswami, filed an FIR at Dispur police station. “This is in utter disrepute to the honour of our soldiers and 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,” the complainants wrote, requesting the authorities to take “strict action” against Sarma.
“The case was registered and the arrest made on the basis of the FIR,” Dispur police station OC Prafulla Kumar Das said. He said that Sarma said she was a writer.
Her Facebook profile describes her as working for All India Radio, Dibrugarh.
In October last year, Sarma allegedly faced rape threats for an anti-government post she had put up on social media.
Following the online flak, Sarma responded with a post online Monday night: “Isn’t misrepresenting my post mental harassment? Will the false propaganda against me come under rule of law? Why has (there) been no investigation regrind the FIR I filed about the murder and intimidation threats I received earlier?”