By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], October 31 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi, has come out in defense of a common social media user, Sameet Thakkar, and alleged that the action taken by the Maharashtra government against him was dangerous for democracy, besides being illegal.
Gandhi has termed the treatment meted out to Thakkar as 'inhuman, illegal and immoral', reeking of totalitarianism and fascism. He also said that this kind of action (by the government) weakens the nation and is dangerous for democracy and dialogue.
The images of Sameet Thakkar, a Twitter user and influencer who has more than 62,000 followers, tied with rope and face covered in black cloth while being taken to court has met sharp criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party MP Varun Gandhi.
Speaking to ANI, the MP said, "It is completely inhuman, illegal and immoral. There can be and must be political opposition for dialogue to be strengthened in a democracy. We have the right to freedom of expression. And to treat a human being like an animal for his views weakens the nation."
The BJP leader took to social media on Friday to express his anguish over the oppressive action by the Maharashtra police.
Social media witnessed widespread outrage after images of him surfaced of being taken to court where his head was reportedly covered by a black cloth and his hands were tied by a rope.
Thakkar was arrested last week for posting objectionable comments against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son and minister Aditya Thackeray on Twitter. He has been sent to police custody till November 2 by a court in Nagpur.
Gandhi argued that any allegations made against anyone can be countered by voicing opposition or taking legal recourse, but to use power to silence opposing voices sets a dangerous precedence in, and for, a democracy.
"When someone makes an allegation against you, you can go to court, speak the truth, voice your opinion. But if you start using power, its instruments to brutalise, crush opposition and to silence a voice, then you are slipping into a very dark place. It's dangerous precedence as well," stated Gandhi.
The BJP MP also observed that such oppression by the government tramples on the rights of a person that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the country.
"This young person is still a citizen of India and has rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He is a human being. He has the authority as a citizen to voice opinion freely under auspices of the Constitution," Gandhi commented.
Further commenting on Thakkar, he said, "It is dangerous for a democracy when a citizen is not protected, irrespective of ideology, it leads to the break down of rights that he enjoys as a citizen." (ANI)