BJP leader Poonam Mahajan said Tuesday the party’s youth wing will challenge the Supreme Court order asking its activist Priyanka Sharma to apologise for posting a meme of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on social media, asserting the verdict has sent out a “wrong message”.
The court earlier Tuesday granted bail to Sharma, against whom a complaint was filed in Bengal for sharing a photo in which Banerjee’s face was photoshopped onto actor Priyanka Chopra’s picture from a MET Gala event in New York.
The apex court also asked Sharma to apologise in writing on her release from jail. It observed freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon the rights of others.
Mahajan said she was “delighted” with the SC order and “grateful” to the court for releasing Sharma on bail.
“But the direction of apology sends out a wrong message on the question of free speech,” she said.
“In July, when the writ petition is coming up, we are going to contest it because this is a bigger issue,” said Mahajan, the president of BJP’s Yuva Morcha. West Bengal police arrested Sharma on May 10 under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC and under other provisions of the Information Technology Act on the complaint of local Trinamool Congress leader Vibhas Hazra.
BJP leaders and social media users have protested Sharma’s arrest. “We have been battling the TMC in Bengal for two years and many of our activists have been arrested, beaten up and even killed by their goons. This has exposed how anarchy has spread in Bengal and how in Mamata didi’s rule, freedom of expression has been strangled to death,” Mahajan alleged.
She alleged Banerjee was like “Hitler” and using her ego and power to suppress opposition. “The workers in Bengal are not alone. We are with them, our party president, Amit Shah is with them,” she said. “The woman (Banerjee) who is always speaking of democratic rights and talking of how the Constitution is in danger, is not controlling her Hitleresque regime,” the Yuva Morcha chief alleged.
Citing Sharma’s case, she asked should the youth in the state “live in fear”?