SHIMLA : Various political parties Strongly Criticized the arrest of journalist Rajneesh Sharma for allegedly making objectionable comments against Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on a Facebook post. The Aam Aadmi Party, the CPM and the BJP also demanded the cancellation of the FIR registered against him.
On the complaint of district Congress leader of Mandi Puran Chand, the Mandi Sadar police on Thursday registered a case against Rajneesh Sharma and detained him for questioning. In the complaint, the Congress leader had alleged that Sharma had posted a comment on his Facebook account with an intention to defame Virbhadra Singh.
Praveen Sharma, media coordinator, Himachal BJP, said intolerance was at its peak in the state. A Chief Parliamentary Secretary was making offensive statements against the Prime Minister, but no case was registered against him. Sharma said state Youth Congress president and Chief Minister’s son Vikramaditya Singh had led an attack on the BJP office in Shimla and a BJP worker had lost an eye in the incident, but no arrest had been made in the case.
CPM district president of Mandi Bhupender Singh said criticism on the social media was a common practice. Instead of arresting the journalist, the authorities should have released him after issuing a warning.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Mandi district AAP unit had stated that it was sad to see that a scribe of Mandi had been framed and then arrested for posting allegedly objectionable comments on the social networking site. District AAP spokesperson Lawan Thakur said the act of the Congress had sent a wrong message among the users of Facebook and other social networking sites.
“India has constitutionally guaranteed the Right to Freedom of Expression and Speech to its citizens and this act is being seen as violation of the rights,” he said.
“The act of framing the scribe and arresting is being seen an act to silence the dissenting voice for posting some adverse remarks on the social networking sites,” he said. AAP condemned the act of the senior Congressman of Mandi on whose behest the press reporter was framed. AAP would always stand for the freedom of speech and always raise its voice against the forces who wanted to silence the voices of dissent, he said.