The Tamil Nadu police on Monday, 3 September, arrested Lois Sofia, a student from Thoothukudi for allegedly shouting slogans against the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. The incident took place inside Thoothukudi airport.
She was granted unconditional bail on Tuesday, 4 September. Her father was asked by Tamilselvi, the chief judge in a panel of three judges, that he assure the court that Sofia doesn’t cause such problems again.
The police had initially taken action based on a complaint by Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan, who was travelling in the same flight as Sofia, reported The News Minute.
Sofia had been sent to 15-day judicial custody and an FIR has been filed against her under Indian Penal Code Sections 290 (Punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), 505 (Statements Conducing to Public Mischief) as well as Section 75(1) of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act, 1888.
What Happened Inside The Aircraft
Tamilisai claimed that Sofia, a student from the University of Montreal in Canada, shouted slogans against the BJP government inside the aircraft.
“When I am taking my bag, a customer shouts ‘BJP’s fascist government down, down.’ Is that freedom of speech?”
According to reports, the BJP president engaged in a verbal altercation with the student while the police personnel stationed at the airport tried to calm her down.
‘She Did Not Look Normal’
Speaking to reporters outside the Thoothukudi airport, Tamilisai said:
She did not look like a normal person. I am not scared or worried because of her. The other passengers inside the flight should not be affected by her, that is why I responded. In a public place people can shout, but nobody has the right to shout inside an aircraft.
Sofia’s advocate Athisiya Kumar said that the Tamil Nadu BJP president could have dealt with the issue in a better way. He added that Sofia is firm that she will not apologise to Tamilisai.
“She (Tamilisai) is a good doctor, a senior leader. Couldn’t she have just spoken to her, instead of shaming her in public? She (Lois Sofia) is just a student. It’s so common to do this in Canada. We don’t have that freedom in India. Instead of advising her, she has insulted her. She also instigated her cadres who have been even more vulgar,” he told The News Minute.
Stalin Repeats Slogan, Demands Immediate Release
DMK President MK Stalin condemned the arrest of Sofia and demanded that she be released immediately. He added that the arrest of Sofia was against freedom of speech.
“If the police were to arrest people who criticise the BJP government, how many lakhs of people will they arrest? I will also repeat it. BJP fascist government down, down,” he wrote on Twitter.
(With inputs from The News Minute)
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September 5, 2018 at 6:58 pm
The student getting bail for the remarks is a rare incident in present situation. It is a welcome step