'Salaried people can't be martyrs,' says writer after Naxal attack

Sagar Malik
·2-min read

08 Apr 2021: 'Salaried people can't be martyrs,' says writer after Naxal attack

Sikha Sarma, a 48-year-old Guwahati-based writer was arrested on Tuesday on various charges including sedition over her Facebook post on Indian security forces after 22 personnel got martyred in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh last weekend.

In her post, Sarma had allegedly questioned the usage of the term "martyr" for the slain security personnel.

Here are more details on this.

Details: Do not make people sentimental, Sarma wrote

According to a report in The Indian Express, Sarma had written in her post on Monday, "Salaried professionals who die in the line of duty cannot be termed martyrs."

"Going by that logic, electricity department workers who die of electrocution should also be labelled martyrs. Do not make people sentimental, media," she added.

Her post received a lot of flak online.

Complaint: Lawyers file FIR, call for 'strict action' against Sarma

As the controversial post grabbed attention, two advocates of the Gauhati High Court, Umi Deka Baruah and Kangkana Goswami, filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Dispur Police station.

Sarma's remarks "not only reduce the unparalleled sacrifice of our jawans to a mere 'money making discourse,' but is also verbal assault on the spirit and sanctity of service of the nation," they said.

Details: Sarma apparently works for All India Radio, Dibrugarh

"The case was registered and the arrest made on the basis of the FIR," Dispur Police station officer in-charge Prafulla Kumar Das was quoted as saying.

Das stated that Sarma said she was a writer.

Her Facebook account describes her as working for the All India Radio (AIR), Dibrugarh.

Last October, Sarma reportedly faced rape threats for an anti-government post that she put online.

Police's action: Sarma sent to judicial custody for two weeks

The Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta told TIE that Sarma has been arrested under various sections including IPC Section 124A (Sedition).

She was produced before a court in Kamrup (Metro) district yesterday which sent her to a 14-day judicial custody, India Today reported.

Sarma had responded to the criticism on Monday night in another post calling it "mental harassment."

Fact: 'Isn't misrepresenting my post mental harassment?'

"Isn't misrepresenting my post mental harassment? Will the false propaganda against me come under rule of law? Why has (there) been no investigation regrind the FIR I filed about the murder and intimidation threats I received earlier (sic)," her second post reportedly read.

Context: Maoist attack claimed the lives of 22 security personnel

On Saturday, a fire-fight broke out between the armed forces and the Maoists at the Sukma-Bijapur border in Chhattisgarh.

The Naxal attack, one of the worst in years, ended up claiming the lives of 22 security personnel and injuring 31 others.

Reports suggest around 20 Maoists were also killed. The Maoists, however, have claimed in a statement that only four of their members died.