32-Year-Old Arrested For Criticising Islam On Social Media

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32-year-old Tarak Biswas was arrested for posting anti-Islam comments on social media.


Kolkata:  Tarak Biswas, 32, a self-proclaimed atheist from Kolkata, routinely criticised all religions on social media. Usually his writings would evoke angry reactions and lead to a heated debate - all in the anonymity and safety of the internet. But last week, after he re-posted a critique of Islam from another website on Facebook, he found himself in jail.

The police arrested Mr Biswas on September 16, under various sections of the Information Technology Act, for hurting religious feelings and posting offensive messages online.

His family however says he is being targeted by those who don't agree with his beliefs.

"Tarak is an atheist. He has his own belief. He has routinely criticised all religions. Why should a post on Islam - which was mostly a repost, and not original - be considered so offensive?" his elder brother Moloy Biswas told NDTV.

He also alleged that the police seemed to be in haste while making the arrest. When Tarak was presented in court on September 17, he allegedly did not even have a lawyer to argue his case.

Now the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights - which deals with human rights violations - has offered to help Mr Biswas. The Association's lawyers will argue for bail when the court hears his appeal on September 29.

The Biswas' are not well off. Mr Biswas runs a small grocery store in Kalyani near Kolkata.  At home his young son cannot understand why his father is jail for posting someone else's words on social media.

But the complainant, Wasim Akhtar, claimed that the posts were a step too far.

"Not only has he (Tarak) written offensive comments, he has also tagged and posted materials from a dubious website. I will bring all this before the court as the posts could trigger communal trouble ahead of Dugra Puja and Muharram," said Mr Akthar's lawyer Mohammad Arif.

While accepting that Mr Biswas' post was offensive, Basudev Mukherjee of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights said: "We don't support what he said, but we will definitely defend his right to say it."


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