IT professionals oppose controversial Section 66 (A) of IT Act

Widespread protests taking place across the country after the arrest of two girls over a Facebook comment, have now reached Hyderabad. On Sunday, a group, consisting mostly of IT professionals, students and academicians, protested at Indira Park against the controversial Section 66 (A) of Information Technology (IT) Act.

Close to 200 persons who participated in the protest, held by Swecha organisation, claimed that the controversial Section 66 (A) deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services. “Section 66 (A) is being misused and government should come out with clear rules in the IT Act to guarantee freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution,” was the main demand of the protesters.

“There are enough provisions in IPC to curtail hate speech and punishing malicious behaviour. Section 66 (A) is being used to suppress dissenting voice raised against the faults and failures of the government. Everybody should violate 66 (A) because it’s the duty of every citizen to oppose unjust laws,” said MLC, K. Nageshwar, who participated in the protest.

Many said that Section 66 (A) was meant to curtail Internet freedom. “The arrest of two young women from Palghar over Facebook posts is a clear misuse of Section 66 (A). It’s like authorities are trying to suppress persons who dissent,” said general secretary, Free Software Movement of India, Y. Kiran Chandra.

According to the Swecha organisation, similar protests will be taken up in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Kakinada, Vijayawada and Guntur.

“We are also planning to organise a massive event on Internet and Democracy on January 27 next year. The government should immediately start the process of reviewing the IT Act,” executive secretary, Swecha, Siddhartha Malempati demanded.

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