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Bengal police threatens action for tweets on the Taliban style flogging of a woman: X users get notices, including for a post about Rajdeep Sardesai’s silence

BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla shared a post on X stating that he received a notice from the social media company for a tweet questioning Rajdeep Sardesai's silence on the Taliban-style flogging of a woman.

Amidst the outrage over a woman’s Taliban-style public flogging in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district by a TMC leader’s close aide, the state’s police have come into action against those who condemned or highlighted the incident on social media platforms.

Taking to X on 1st July, Bhartiya Janata Party spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said that he questioned INDI bloc friendly ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai why he did not conduct a debate on IndiaToday over the Chopra flogging incident. Sharing a screenshot of the Bengal Police’s notice sent over email, Poonawalla said that the TMC MP Sagarika Ghose’s husband Rajdeep has “rutba” [influence] to get the police take action against the BJP leader.

“Shocking. I questioned @sardesairajdeep why he did not do a 9pm debate on Talibani style beating of a woman in Bengal by a close aide of TMC leader who justified it. It has got 3.8 Lakh views & 9000 RTs in few hours. Such is the rutba of TMC Sansad Pati that West Bengal police wants to take action on me ! This is “democracy” “tolerance”. I will go to JAIL but won’t delete it  @sardesairajdeep. Here is that tweet again,” Poonawalla posted.

Similarly, Journalist and Jan Ki Baat founder Pradeep Bhandari has received a notice from the West Bengal Police over a post from Jan Ki Baat’s X handle, wherein the Chopra incident was reported and BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya’s response was mentioned. Taking to X, Bhandari informed about the same and wrote, “Action against criminals : No. Action against journalists reporting the crime : Yes. Welcome to West Bengal!”

Meanwhile, Hindu activist and former Oxford University Student Union President, Rashmi Samant has also received a notice from the West Bengal Police for talking about the Taliban-style flogging of a woman. “Just for calling out the public flogging of women in West Bengal @WBPolice is trying to get my X account shut down. Dictatorship alive and thriving,” Samant wrote.

“This Taliban syle flogging of women in the middle of the road in broad daylight is not Afghanistan but West Bengal in India. #Shame @MamataOfficial,” said Samant’s post that the Bengal Police took offence at.

Supreme Court lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha questioned if the West Bengal police has no shame left that they are asking X to delete his post wherein he talked about the incident in question.

“What Bengal thinks today, India will think tomorrow. Bengal is thinking Sharia today,” Jha’s post stated.

X user Rishi Bagree said that a case against him for quoting a video of the Chopra incident shared by a CPIM leader. He called the Bengal Police’s action as “real dictatorship”.

“West Bengal Police filed a case against me for quoting a video of Md Salim, CPIM leader. Instead of taking action against the culprit they are busy shooting the messengers. This is how real dictatorship looks like,” Bagree posted.

Another X user Ashwini Shrivastava also received a notice and said that the West Bengal Police is “harassing” journalists on government orders. He also urged President Droupadi Murmu to take note of the situation in the state.

“This is real dictatorship, #DhruvRathee ! Today, on the orders of the Mamata gov, West Bengal police sent a legal notice to X against my account for covering daily atrocities in the state! After covering the crimes happening in Bengal, the police start harassing journalists on the government’s orders. Journalists are either arrested on false charges or sent legal notices. Madam President @rashtrapatibhvn should pay attention to West Bengal, where women are being subjected to atrocities daily. President’s rule is the need of the hour,” Shrivastava posted.

It is rather ironic that several social media users are receiving notice from West Bengal Police over “violation of the Information and Technology Act” by merely highlighting the horrifying incident, while no action has been taken against TMC MLA Hamidul Rehman who on a news channel justified the horrific treatment meted out the woman seen in the viral video. As reported earlier, Rehman justified the Taliban-style punishment in what he dubbed as ‘Muslim Rashtra’.

“The woman has not complained but you guys (media persons) are still raking it up continuously. The woman was doing unsocial work in the absence of her husband. A meeting was held by the villagers over her activities and a collective decision was made,” Rehman said.

It all started on Sunday (30th June) when a video shared by CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim, in which a local Bahubali leader Tajemul is seen assaulting a married woman and a man lying helplessly on the road in the name of ‘summary Justice’ is doing rounds on social media. Sharing the video of the assault, CPI(M) leader and Former Rajya Sabha MP Salim alleged that the main accused seen in the video is a local TMC goon who goes by the nickname ‘JCB’. As the video went viral, a public outcry ensued, with many taking to social media to express their anger and demand justice for the victim. Notably, the police have arrested the perpetrator Tajemul alias JCB.

While in a democracy, the right to criticise and demand accountability is sacrosanct, it seems like such democratic principles are no longer applicable. Last month, the official X account of the DCP Crime Branch of Kolkata Police asked a social media user to disclose his identity, including his name and residence, after he shared a spoof video on CM Mamata Banerjee on the microblogging platform X. However, after a social media backlash, the police deleted its post seeking details of the said X user.

West Bengal authorities sending police notices to those who posted about the incident is a blatant attempt to stifle dissent and control the narrative. Instead of addressing the root cause of the outrage—the public flogging—the state of a democratic country has chosen to target social media users, political opponents and journalists. This sends a chilling message that criticism and the demand for accountability will be met with intimidation. While freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, by issuing police notices, the West Bengal government is effectively discouraging citizens from speaking out against injustices and is creating an atmosphere of fear and repression.

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