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Souradeep Sengupta, guest lecturer, department of physics, GC College, Silchar, has been arrested and charged with four sections, two of them non-bailable, by Cachar police for a mere Facebook post where he criticised the role of the central government in the recent Delhi riots.

His arrest is a blatant assault on freedom of speech and expression granted by the Indian Constitution because he never incited any violence through his post. Moreover, a hostile mob raided his house on the 28th of February, 2020, making a complete mockery of justice and law and order.

Cachar police, instead of reining in the mob, arrested Souradeep under the following sections: -

1) 295A of IPC -- Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs (Non-Bailable)

2) 153A of IPC – Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion (Non-Bailable)

3) 507 of IPC – Criminal Intimidation (Bailable)

4) 66 of IT Act – being dishonest or fraudulent while accessing computer equipment.

Common sense tells us that none of these grave charges are suitable for his case, for he was merely exercising his rights guaranteed under the constitution of India. His comment may appear offensive to some. But Article 19 (1) (a) is there in the constitution precisely for protection of speech that some may find offensive. The reasonable restriction is an exception and applies only when the speech constitutes an offence.

Despite this, sensing a backlash, Souradeep withdrew his post as a gentleman and apologised unconditionally to any religious sentiments he might have hurt without expressed intention.

If the post was found offensive, it could have been easily dealt with by reporting against it on Facebook for it has its own strict community standards.

The FIR against him and his arrest violates basic human rights. It is criminalisation of dissent. The police action against him is totally uncalled for, and the mob violence that his family faced is a complete disgrace.

We, condemn and denounce Souradeep's arrest, and we demand his immediate release and withdrawal of the case.

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Abhishek Roy needs your help with “Citizens of India: RELEASE SOURADEEP SENGUPTA AND TAKE ACTION AGAINST MOB JUSTICE.”. Join Abhishek and 2,068 supporters today.