Assam lecturer held for Facebook post on Delhi violence

His arrest was based on a complaint by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad

Updated - February 29, 2020 07:18 pm IST

Published - February 29, 2020 11:55 am IST - Guwahati

Photo used for representational purpose.

Photo used for representational purpose.

A college lecturer in southern Assam’s Cachar district was arrested late on Friday for his views on the Delhi riots and the role of the Hindutva forces on his Facebook page.

His arrest was based on a complaint by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in district headquarters Silchar, although he had deleted the “derogatory” posts and had apologised for “some irresponsible comments about a communally sensitive issue”.

Cachar Superintendent of Police Manabendra Debroy said the police acted on the complaint to pick up Souradeep Sengupta, a guest lecturer at Sichar’s Gurucharan College from his residence in the Itkhola area of the town. “He will be produced before the local court,” he said.

The court put Mr. Sengupta’s bail application on hold and sent him to judicial custody till March 2.

Mr. Sengupta was arrested under three sections of the Indian Penal Code and 66A of the Information Technology Act that defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device. The IPC sections slapped against him include 295A dealing with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

One of Mr. Sengupta’s cousins, declining to be quoted, said trouble for the teacher began on Thursday night when Kunaljit Dey used screenshots of the teacher’s posts and said he had insulted followers of Sanatan Dharma.

The teacher had, in one of the posts, sniffed a BJP-RSS design to “recreate Godhra in Delhi”.

“Dada (elder brother) deleted his posts soon after and apologised for inadvertently hurting religious sentiments. The matter should have ended there but some 50 ABVP members stormed his college and staged a demonstration before filing an FIR at the Silchar Sadar police station against him,” the cousin said.

“If that were not enough, the ABVP boys surrounded his house. Some them barged in and abused everyone, including his parents for not teaching ethics to their son. The police came later to arrest him,” she added.

The college principal said he was under pressure to terminate Mr. Sengupta following a memorandum by the ABVP. Mr Sengupta, members of his family said, offered to resign.

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