Supreme Court grants Prashant Bhushan relief from arrest for Ramayana post
The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to lawyer and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan in a case registered against him in Gujarat for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
A retired soldier in Rajkot lodged a criminal case against Bhushan on April 12 over his tweet on March 28 which said: “As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people.” He was referring to a Union minister’s tweet that he was enjoying Ramayana and Mahabharata since the lockdown was imposed.
A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna was critical of Prashant Bhushan’s comment. “Anybody can watch anything on TV. How can you say people cannot watch this or that?” It ordered the Gujarat police against any coercive action till the next date of hearing. It listed the matter after two weeks.
Prashant Bhushan said he was replying to minister Prakash Javadekar’s tweet that he was watching Ramayana. He said he borrowed the word “opium” from the “oft quoted expression of Karl Marx that religion is the opium of the masses”.