The mother of BJP's youth wing worker who was arrested for sharing a morphed picture of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that the underlying reason for the action was her association with the BJP.
"My daughter was arrested because she worked for the BJP. This is all part of a big plot. This is the first time she is far away from us. Had she been a TMC (Trinamool) worker nothing bad would have happened to her, this is all done by TMC. The fact that she is in jail has increased our worries," Priyanka Sharma's mother was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
The activist, Priyanka Sharma, is accused of sharing on her Facebook timeline a photo in which Mamata Banerjee's face has been photoshopped on the form of actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the MET Gala in New York.
She was picked up by the police from her home. She has been sent to two weeks' judicial custody.
Her brother said he was not allowed to meet her initially. The police relented after he put pressure. Priyanka Sharma's security was at risk, her brother claimed, as her entry was not recorded even 24 hours after her arrested.
He claimed BJP leader Poonam Mahajan called him to Delhi, ANI reported. "I will take the matter to Supreme Court to save my sister", he said.
The BJP's youth wing chief in Kolkata, Om Prakash Singh, said the action against Ms Sharma was wrong, not what she did.
"Social media is a place where everybody wants the freedom to express. It is shameful that Mamata Banerjee is curbing freedom on that platform. Priyanka just shared an edited photo which was already viral on the platform. There is nothing vulgar or shameful in the photo," he said.
A complaint filed at Dasnagar Police station against Priyanka Sharma, a BJP Yuva Morcha leader, accuses her of "violating community guidelines", an official of Howrah City police's Cyber Cell is quoted as telling news agency IANS. The complaint was reportedly filed by a Trinamool leader, Bibhas Hazra.
The arrest has provoked anger and strong protests, not just by the BJP but also by other social media users.
The BJP's Himanta Biswa Sarma called it an "emergency-like situation" in Bengal. "Appalled at an Emergency-like situation in WB. Freedom of expression is severely curbed. Priyanka Sharma, executive member of @bjym4howrah has been sent to 14-day police custody for posting a Met Gala-themed meme on @MamataOfficial," Mr Sarma tweeted.
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