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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Sharad Pawar extends support to youth targeted by police for anti-Modi posts on social media

During a meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, at YB Chavan Centre in South Mumbai, he interacted with more than 40 youth

mumbai Updated: Oct 14, 2017 23:40 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Sharad Pawar assured legal help to the youth.
Sharad Pawar assured legal help to the youth.(HT)

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at the police for targeting youth who have criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social networking sites.

During a meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, at at YB Chavan Centre in South Mumbai, he interacted with more than 40 youth from diverse social and economic backgrounds and different districts in the state. They unanimously complained to Pawar that their right to freely express their views against the government was curtailed.

In the meeting which lasted for more than three hours , they also told Pawar that they were being trolled by right-wing netizens. Pawar told the media that his party will support the youth.

“We have decided to stand firmly by these youngsters to oppose suppression of the fundamental right of freedom of expression. They have been aggressively writing their views in the interest of democracy and secularism. I don’t think they belong to any particular party or subscribe to any political ideology. It is shocking that the police are after these people for expressing views on social media. We will provide legal aid to them,” the NCP chief said.

The meeting comes after 27 people were recently summoned by the crime branch of the state police for their statements on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. A few of them were examined in a case related to a fake account created under the name of an officer from the chief minister’s office and subsequent derogatory messages sent out from the profile.

The group consists of farmers, students and mostly professionals. Some of us were routine blog writers and active on social media. Their major complaint was that they were being watched. One of them was summoned in a case which was not even remotely related to him. It was because he wrote about the Maharashtra government’s dubious stand on farmers’ strike,”said a man, who attended the meeting.

The youth had requested Pawar to hear them out after he expressed his concern on Twitter last week that law-enforcing agencies were targeting them. NCP leader Jitendra Avhad facilitated the meeting.

Pawar expressed his shock over government’s role and reportedly told them in the meeting that it was worse than the situation during the Emergency in 1975. He also said that the leaders from previous government never reacted so aggressively, like being done today to the people writing against the incumbent leaders.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 23:40 IST

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