The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a plea filed by BJP Youth Wing Worker Priyanka Sharma against her arrest by West Bengal Police for sharing a morphed picture of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In the picture that Sharma had shared on May 9, Banerjee's face was superimposed on actor Priyanka Chopra's body, in the dress she wore to the 2019 Met Gala. Sharma was arrested on Friday and was sent to 14-days police custody.
While several ministers came out in support of Priyanka Sharma, netizens pointed out a relavant fact - Why are Bollywood “activists”, normally vocal on such issues, silent on Priyanka Sharma's arrest? A number of them have in the past crusaded demanding 'freedom of expression' be upheld in similar cases. However, the silence in this case is deafening.
A Twitter user @ArmalPrajwal has questioned Swara Bhasker: "@ReallySwara you have not talk about Priyanka Sharma the girl who is detained for just creating a cartoon where is your democracy in danger gang or your approach is selective which is based on cast , religion , party , State , vote bank you are not really you are fake swara" (sic)
Here are some reactions from the Netizens -
Talking about intolerance, Swara Bhasker in 2018 told PTI: "There's a real problem of intolerance of opinion in India. We see difference of opinion as dissent and dissent as sedition.'
Last year, when Naseeruddin Shah had alleged religious mob inquisitions, Richa Chadha had come out in support of his right to express himself. Here's her tweet -
On a similar topic, Shabana Azmi, while addressing the "Women In The World" summit in 2015 had said, "What is really worrying me as an artiste is this growing culture of intolerance. It is really a cause for concern. For a long time I said this is a fringe element and you need to put it down."
When the actors have come out and spoken about intolerance, why be silent when a woman has been arrested for sharing a viral meme? Is it too controversial? Is it the political party one supports? Only time will tell if Bollywood will come out to support Priyanka Sharma in her battle of 'Freedom of Speech'.
Speaking to Republic TV on Monday, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who in 2012 had been arrested on charges of sedition for a cartoon he had made, had said:
"Priyanka Sharma's arrest should be opposed. No matter what her political inclination is, the image that she has posted on not-so questionable, for which she has been arrested. It happens everywhere. People on social media mock their politicians. This can not happen in a strong democracy where a person is getting arrested for memes. If this is happening right now, then it means that the politicians are showing themselves as the 'dictators'."
(With Inputs from ANI)