Looks like getting jailed for your critical Facebook posts is making a return. Devu Chodankar,a young Goan ship building professional could be well behind bars after a local court rejected his anticipatory bail plea recently for his Facebook post that slams the would be PM of India – Narendra Modi.
The district and sessions court rejected the bail plea of Chodankar, after a local cyber crime cell investigating the case claimed that his Facebook post was a larger game plan to “promote communal and social disharmony” in the state.
The incident surfaced when the country was witnessing massive election campaigning by the BJP’s PM candidate Modi for the 16th Lok Sabha Elections. Chodankar, in a Facebook post on Goa+, a popular forum with over 47,000 members, had claimed that if elected to power, Modi would unleash a ‘holocaust’. The post which didn’t go well with Modi supporters was later deleted by the young Goan, reports FirstPost.
Surprisingly, Chodankar justified his post later on another popular local Facebook forum. He apologized for the chosen words in his Facebook post at Goa+ and he called his crusade against the “tyranny of fascists”. He also claimed that some right wing elements were in the process of filing a first information report with the Goa Police’s Cyber Cell.
The claim turned out to be true, when a FIR was lodged against Chodankar by Goan businessman Atul Pai Kane, who heads the BJP-led Goa government’s committee on investment and industrial policy. The FIR was lodged earlier in March under sections 153(A), 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 125 of the People’s Representation Act and 66-A of the Information Technology Act. Some of these sections are non-bailable in nature.
Kane who finds the statements inflammatory, also adds that Chodankar had threatened Facebook users from voting for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. Protesting against the FIR, the opposition stated that it is a blow to freedom of speech.
But looks like the investigating officers of the Cyber Cell want to interrogate Chodankar to find out any motive of a larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the state.
Subsequently, two summons have already been issued to Chodankar and the only option left for him is to approach the High Court.
While it remains to be seen what lies for Chodankar in the near future, it looks like the draconian IT Act 66-A – which was misused extensively by the UPA government – is all set to make a return with the new government to be formed at the center.
Although BJP and Modi have been social media believers, their tact with the medium will be tested during a crisis.