Never in her wildest dreams did 21-year-old girl Shaheen Dhada think that her post on Facebook questioning the Mumbai shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray will land her in prison. But she did, along with her friend Renu Shrinivas for ‘liking’ the comment. Both the girls were granted bail soon after they furnished personal bonds. Shaheen Dhada was quoted as saying after the incident, “I’m not angry, I’m not sad, but I’m just shocked. It was just my point of view, I’m shocked that it was my post because of which all this happened.”
Shaheen also apologised for the post because, she said, she did not want to “hurt anyone’s sentiments”.
This is not the first time India supposedly the largest democracy has shocked the world by putting its commitment to freedom of speech out of the window. It was only last month that 46-year-old businessman Ravi Srinivasan from Pondicherry was put behind bars for criticising Karti Chidambaram, son of Indian finance minister P Chidambaram on Twitter. This shows that the political hotshots are manipulating the system which puts the democracy of the country to shame. Especially youngsters treat their Facebook accounts as their friends and post their random thoughts. There is no reason to believe that these comments are anything but their point of views and arresting them for the same, sends the wrong message to the youth.
This scenario is in complete contrast to the law that prevails for the politicians. People governing the country abuse and at sad occasions even manhandle each other in parliament while keeping others under a tight leash.
Is it time we cease calling our country a democracy?