New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Social media in India has become a dangerous place for dissident or irreverence, especially if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the centre of your critics. State administrations in Goa, Karnataka and Kerala have shown great alacrity in arresting, browbeating or terrorizing anyone who is even slightly critical of Modi.
In the past four days, Kerala police has registered two separated cases against 18 college students and teachers for "defaming" Modi in their respective campus magazines.
In the first case on June 12, cops in Kunnamkulam booked five students and a staff editor of the Government Polytechnic College, for reserving a slot for Modi in a "hall of shame" page in their magazine Litsokniga. Among others, the list included Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.
Next day in Guruvayur 11 students, who works for magazine Name of Sree Krishna College, were booked for inserting an unpleasant clue in a crossword puzzle. All the boys have been arrested under section 153 of Indian Penal Code ("wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot"). They were later released on bail.
On May naval engineer Devu Chodankar has been implied for posting some comments on Facebook, which were deemed to be anti-Modi. Though he withdrew them later, a session court ordered his arrest and rejected his anticipatory bail plea after inputs from the local cybercrime cell said there was a "larger game to promote communal and social disharmony."
"The real challenge for the Prime Minister, who is showing all signs of being a statesman, is how he tames communal forces. Moreover, it is time everyone realized that criticism of India's policies, its past or its politicians isn't equal to being anti-national", said to Times of India Aqsa Agha, a PhD student in history in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi.
Aftab Alam, professor of political science at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), added: "That's what the secular people feared about Modi's rule. We should not let the fear grow."