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Facebook user slapped with defamation suit, police notice for using the terms ‘Dhritarashtra’ and ‘Penguin’ for Maharashtra govt

The notice reiterates that as Balakrishna Deekonda has degraded the reputation of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and the state govt, he must seek apology and pay the damages, otherwise he will have to face consequences.

Even as the Maharashtra govt cases flake for targeting people for their social media comments criticising the state govt, such actions by the Uddhav Thackeray government continues. In the latest incident, one Facebook user has been slapped with a defamation case of Rs 10 lakh for comparing the Maharashtra CM with Dhritarashtra, and also for referring to the govt as penguin govt.

The latest victim is Balakrishna Deekonda, a resident of Kamathipura in Mumbai, who has landed on trouble for his Facebook posts criticising the Maharashtra govt. The chief minister and the state government has sent him a statutory notice accusing him of defaming, degrading the reputation of the CM and his govt. The notice has been sent by one Shreedhar R Sadula, a Shiv Sena worker, who is a Gat Pramukh in Motilal Nehru Nagar, Antop Hill area in Mumbai.

The notice sent through Mumbai based advocate Prakash U Sutar quotes several posts by Deekonda, saying that they are defamatory and degrading statements for the CM and the govt. The notice attaches copies of the ‘offending’ posts by Deekonda. In one such post, he had said on 25th August, “Anyway Penguin govt is for few more days”, while sharing a survey report published on Mumbai Mirror saying that 64% respondents are not happy with Uddhav Thackeray, and 70% wanted to end the lockdown.

The two Facebook posts for which Balakrishna Deekonda is facing action

In another post on 18 April, Balakrishna Deekonda had shared an opinion article by The Print titled “Uddhav Thackeray has failed to handle Covid crisis. Bring in Army to save Mumbai”. While sharing link to the article, he had written, “200+.. Dritharashtra?”

The notice states that Deekonda had willingly defamed and degraded the chief minister and the state govt in the eyes of public with ulterior motive, and for that he must apologise in one local newspaper, one national newspaper and on the Social Media platform where he had posted the comments.

Along with apology, the Maharashtra CM is also seeking damages of Rs 10 lakh from Deekonda, which is to be deposited with Tata Memorial Hospital. If the same is not done, civil and criminal proceedings will be initiated against him, the notice said.

The notice reiterates that as he has degraded the reputation of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and the state govt, he must seek apology and pay the damages, otherwise he will have to face consequences.

Following the legal notice sent to Deekonda, Wadala TT Police Station issued a notice to him, asking to appear before the police. The notice asks him to contact the police station on phone as soon as he receives it, and to appear before them withing 3 days of receiving the notice.

Several other persons are facing actions by Maharashtra govt for their comments criticising the govt. Some of them include Sameet Thakkar, who was arrested three times for the same comments, Sunaina Holey, arrested twice for her tweets, advocate Vibhor Anand, who was arrested from Delhi, and several others.

It may be noted that in May this year, Maharashtra state govt had issued prohibitory orders, making criticism of the govt a crime. After that, Shiv Sena had formed a team to track down social media posts criticising the govt, and to take legal action on them.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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