Gujarat Police Lodges FIR Against SC Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Two Others
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, APRIL 13—The Gujarat police have registered a criminal case against Supreme Court’s senior advocate Prashant Bhushan and two others on the basis of a tweet on March 28 in which he had said that “our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayan and Mahabharata to the people”.
The charges levelled against him are under IPC’s Section 295A pertaining to hurting religious feelings, Section 505/1/B pertaining to inducement to disturb public tranquility, Section 34 pertaining to committing an act with common intention and Section 120B pertaining to entering into a criminal conspiracy punishable with death, life sentence or rigorous imprisonment for two years or more.
The other two persons mentioned in the FIR are former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan and one Ashlin Matthew.
An official at the Bhaktinagar police station in Rajkot city where the FIR was lodged on Sunday, told India Tomorrow that an investigation has begun in the case.
The FIR has been lodged on a complaint by a retired Army captain Jaidev Joshi. He said that remarks of Bhushan and approval of his comments by Gopinathan and Matthew have hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu community and that it might result into social disharmony as the remarks were highly misleading.
Bhushan’s tweet was in response to a tweet by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, saying ‘I am watching Ramayana, are you’, tagging Doordarshan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP’s national handle (@BJP4India) and the BJP’s Maharashtra unit (@BJPMaharashtra). He also used hashtags #StayHomeStaySafe and #IndiaFightsCorona.
As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people! https://t.co/eJqFkBmZu5— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) March 28, 2020
Javadekar had tweeted a day after he announced that Ramayan will be aired from March 28 on public demand. In his tweet, he had posted a picture of himself watching the show from his couch at his home.
Here, fixed it for @PrakashJavdekar, for him to understand the gravity of the situation India is in today. I hope, #Ramayan will help him awaken his conscience, if it is not dead already, and he will learn to do the right thing - which is to go out and help rescue the poor! pic.twitter.com/jYCb6YiDNA— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) March 28, 2020
However, Javadekar deleted his tweet when faced with a barrage of criticism from several quarters, including advocates and politicians.
Lawyer and activist Bhushan had tweeted, “As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people”.
Another twitter user Priyashmita Guha said, “No. am trying to order groceries from 5 am and failing. Can’t get out as building being sanitised. Ai. Also, cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, washing clothes and just finished a concall. (sic)”.
Yet another twitter user compared Javadekar to the last Queen of France before the French Revolution using her famous quote, “1789: Let them eat cake(Marie Antoinette). 2020: Let them watch Ramayana(Prakash Javadekar)”.
Congress party’s Gaurav Pandhi immediately changed Javadekar’s tweet by replacing the TV screen with a video of a young man who was weeping due to unplanned lockdown as he was not able to go home.
Why has @PrakashJavdekar deleted this tweet? There is nothing wrong in watching Ramayan & tweeting about it. Instead of deleting tweets, learn from Ramayan, do the right thing, rescue crores of poor daily wagers who are stuck & tweet about it!— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) March 28, 2020
Deleting this tweet is cowardice! pic.twitter.com/NFUDqT9Ybx
After Javadekar deleted his tweet, Pandhi tweeted, “Why has @PrakashJavadekar deleted this tweet. There is nothing wrong in watching Ramayan & tweeting about it. Instead of deleting tweets, learn from Ramayan, do the right thing, rescue crores of poor daily wagers who are stuck and tweet about it!”